“Every time we play this game you like to cheat.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I DON’T” yells the youngest child. Next thing you know, it’s a full-blown war between the siblings. “Mommy, she’s not being fair because when I—“ as she is abruptly cut off by the older sibling, “NOOOOOOOO THAT’S NOT TRUE! Stop lying on me! Mom I don’t wanna play with her anymore because she keeps lying on me.” Yells the older sibling.
“AND YOU KEEP CHEATING!” Yells the younger sibling as they get into the biggest verbal war this side of heaven.
Ahhhhhh yes, the subject that most parents could rant on for hours and hours; sibling rivalry. How in the world do you prevent it? Is there a way to do so? Why do they have to fight ALL OF THE TIME?
If you find yourself asking these questions, you are in the right place my friend.
There was a time when I used to have rivalry in my house all of the time. I was tired, frustrated, confused, and simply OVER the parenting model. I felt like I needed to run away from home only I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
I was stuck with these kids.
Then I began to think long and hard about how to make this work. Was there a way to end this infamous sibling rivalry and if so would I be alive to tell the story? The answer in a word, yes. If you would like to learn some of the simple hacks that I’ve learned over the years about reducing sibling rivalry, grab you a cup a coffee, tea, or whatever your drink of choice and let’s dive in.
Here are three ways to minimize the struggle:
1. Model the behavior. I know what you’re thinking, excuse me? Yes, model the behavior you wish to see. If you want peace and harmony, you must show peace and harmony. Child mimic what they see and if they see their caretakers arguing, yelling, fussing, and fighting, you’ve guessed it this is exactly what they will do. So if you don’t want them to create royal havoc, lead by example.
2. Set consequences. Okay so let’s just say for sake of argument you have an extremely strong-willed child (please see my post about that) and no matter how much you model the behavior they want to test the waters and push the limits, so to speak. You must set the expectations. For example, you may say, “I expect for you to get along with your sibling and not yell and fight and if that does happen then your consequence will be_____” and stick to the consequence. Be very careful about setting the consequence and be sure it’s something that will help eliminate the behavior you don’t want as well as something you can hold firm to.
3. Be accountable. In the event you do something that you know you have asked they not do, be sure to acknowledge where you made a mistake. Children need to know that their parents are human as well and make mistakes so this doesn’t put so much pressure on them to be perfect. Work together as a team and your family environment will be all that you dream!
Now if you want to learn some more FUN ways to reduce sibling rivalry, click here for my FREE downloadable “Sibling Rivalry Cheat Sheet” and let me know what you think.