When there is more than one child at home, there are multiple times when it feels like a war situation. How to strike a balance and avoid the occasional fights, read on.
He did!” “No, she did!” “I knew you would side with her. After all, she is the younger one.” “Just because he is elder to me, he gets to go out with his friends at night and I don’t?” “You love him more, don’t you?” It goes on and on, isn’t it? Those of us who have grown up with brothers and sisters around are well acquainted with such situations.
A common story of every family; while some deal with them just fine, some face a real tough time. Sibling rivalry is a natural condition of competition and struggle for favouritism and fairness among children. If uncontrolled and let to flounder wildly, it could lead to ruining of relationships, both between the siblings and between the children and their parents.
THE CHILDREN STATE
The Love Deficit – Entry of a new brother or sister often means experiencing lower than the usual love and attention from the parents.
The Space Value – What was yesterday singly occupied will now be shared. It is equal to having an outsider encroaching on one’s personal property.
The Dangers of Distance – Feeling of extreme sense of jealousy and disappointment can lead children to become distant and even harm their siblings.
The Unhealthy Competition– Children often indulge in a race to prove to their parents who is better than whom.
THE PARENTS STATE
The Attention Meter – Younger ones automatically command greater attention. Though unintentional, this could upset the other child.
The Unconscious Comparison – Parents often unconsciously compare one child with the other, leading to discrimination.
The Temperaments – Parents frequently fail to resolve the fights. Instead, many a time they resort to scolding, beating and punishing.
The Communication Crisis– Assuming that children will learn on their own can lead to parents not talking about such issues at all.
The Rule book
Reach out to the kids | Care about your sibling.
1. Prepare – Even before a new member is to come into the family, prepare the other kid(s) for the same. Tell them the demands a younger one has and hence, a lack of attention to the other should not be misunderstood.
2. Involve – Involve the elder child in taking care of the younger one. Make him/ her realise that they are an integral part of the same family and each one is supposed to take care of others.
3. Say NO to comparison and competition – Every child is unique and has his/her own qualities and potentials. Neither the parents, nor the children themselves, should bring in the feeling of comparison or competition. Be happy with what is. Teach the kids to help each other to improve.
4. Ground rules – In order to ensure, that neither of the children feels mistreated, lay some ground rules for their upbringing, for example, same timings for them to come back to the house when going out with friends, distribution of chores on an equal basis and the like.
FROM RIVALRY TO A SOLID RELATIONSHIP
We do not choose the family we are part of. Parents are the first people children expose themselves to right after coming into this world. It is natural for them to consider it their inalienable right to get the parents’ undivided love and attention. The smaller the age, the more is the craving. The presence of a sibling might introduce the elements of insecurity, apprehensiveness and jealousy. However, if brought up in an atmosphere conditioned with values and patience, they will grow up to develop solid relationships.