Sibling Rivalry is Real
Rivalry can be a tenacious relationship style between siblings and one that is hard to break. Parents must be mindful of how they treat each of their children to avoid major rifts in their relationships. However, this is easier said than done. Parents have a hard time sometimes even realizing that they are creating a feeding ground for sibling rivalry especially when…
- They themselves don’t get along with their siblings,
- Witness(ed) preferential treatment to their siblings by their parents,
- Have erroneous thoughts about child development and therefore prefer one child over the other based on gender, age, physical qualities, etc
- Have hangups about their childhood and over-identify (for good or bad) with one child and therefore react differently
The most important thing is your attitude about all the siblings. Make sure to include the older sibling in activities that involve the new baby. Yes, you will need one-on-one time with the new baby, but there are many things that can be done together or in the company of the older sibling. For example, the older sibling can be your “helper” and get the diapers or bottles. They can sit by you while you feed the baby and read a story or play quietly. It is important to remind your older child that no matter who else is born, your heart is so, so big that there is plenty of space for both of them and that you will love them no matter what. For other reasons that can be uncovered, discussed, processed, and worked through in therapy. If you find yourself dealing with sibling rivalry in your kids, please check out my Q&A at Bundoo. Feel free to contact me for more information or to set up a therapy appointment to help you help your kids get along better.