Mom vs sibling rivalry



Most of us are nodding our heads in agreement. How do you stop the constant bickering, name-calling, fist-fights and howling? The good news is you don't. Sibling rivalry is a natural part of growing up and gives your children their first peer interaction and helps them develop conflict strategies and negotiation skills. So don't keep butting in and sorting it out for them. As my friend Azfar said, when I asked him how his little children were, 'Wherever they are, they're five minutes away from a fight.' Step in only when it's getting dangerous, you think...

Related read: Is your child a troublemaker?

A good start is to diagnose whether your children are just having a healthy difference of opinion or whether it is serious sibling rivalry, which can get carried over into adult life as low self-esteem, dependency or trouble in relationships. Here's a look at what causes the rivalry, and the worth-a-try ways to stem it:

'You love him more than me' Stated or unstated, the share of time or attention received from a parent is a -leading cause of jealousy. A new baby demands more time and so the elder sister is expected to play by herself. Or her brother plays football with dad, which she isn't good at. Time equals love for children.

Solution: Spend alone-time with each child. Ask each child what she's interested in and get yourself involved in her life, even if it means dad has to help braid Barbie's hair, instead of playing football. 'Why does he get to stay up, but not me?'Big age differences between children can cause problems, because the older child gets to do more "adult" things.

Solution: Do not treat your children equally. This may sound radical, but it is practical. Make sure you have rules for each age. So, yes, 'Bhaiya gets -pocket money on the weekends, and when you turn 10, so will you.' Keep your promise! Also, make sure -that the children know that with rights, come -responsibilities. 'Bhaiya can go cycling on his own, but he must wash his own cycle.' Set an age for sleepovers, TV time and going out with friends. Don't punish an older child by making him sleep at eight like the younger sibling, in the name of equality.

'Why should I share with her? Young children have an attachment to their toys and giving them up is a -mature trait. However, since most parents can't afford separate rooms or toys for each child, children need to learn to share early.

Solution: Share time with each toy. 'You have the first chance to play with the remote-control car, and after 10 minutes, he gets it.' Even better, let the child who volunteers to go second, get an extra minute to play with it. And the eventual tie-breaker is: 'If you don't share the toy, Mama takes it away for a week.' It works! One bit of advice I've always loved is on sharing a cake. Let one child cut it into two, and the other child choose which slice he wants. Win-win!

'You're always praising him' Children come with different skills and some may be better at academics. And so parents tend to compare. 'Look at your brother! See how he studies.' She'll probably resent her brother.

Solution: Celebrate one child's academic success, and the other one's sketching skill. Don't compare.

'You never believe me!'
And finally, are you actually being unfair? Without knowing it, we label our children. One tends to lie, one is unruly... Have you decided, for instance, that one child is the hooligan and you yell at him everytime?

Solution: Do a reality check. Ask another adult who's watching. Ask the children separately. Let them voice their grievances. A child has nowhere to turn when his own mother doesn't trust him. Finally, talk to your children about how lucky they are to have siblings. How great it is to have someone around who doesn't go home after a play date. Make them realise they've got a best friend for life. 'You always punish me, not her'

The older one's persistent complaint comes from a feeling of injustice. When Mom breaks up a fight, she always sides with the younger one. The older child feels discriminated against time and time again, and has a growing resentment towards his younger, vulnerable sibling.

Solution: Play fair. If any child hits the other, or breaks his toy or spoils his book, the outcome needs to be the same. Whether it's a pocket money cut or even a heart-felt scolding... No saying, 'He's younger, he didn't mean it, he didn't know what he was doing.' Help the younger child too learn early that he pays for not playing by the fair game rules.

'She's no fun!' This may seem heart-wrenching if your cosy picture of loving children shatters when a child spurns her younger, weaker or ill sibling. This scenario is common in houses where one child persistently falls ill, and the parents are at her bedside or always worried about her. 'Shh, don't shout. You'll disturb Mini.' Or if she needs special help while studying in case she has a disability. The stronger child who, after all, is still a child, feels abandoned.

Solution: Acknowledge the tougher one's resentment. Do not make him continuously put his own life on the backburner. If you're busy in hospital, make sure his dad takes him for his friend's party. Do -something special for the tougher one, like stage a "no-reason" movie as a surprise for him.

5 things you may not have known about sibling rivalry

  • The more responsible child often gets victimised because parents expect higher standards out of him or her.
  • The way they fight (and resolve their differences) as children is the way they will as adults.
  • Children end up resenting a sibling they are forced to be kind to or 'love'.
  • Don't treat the children equally. It's necessary to allow an older child later bedtimes, for example.
  • Children pick up conflict resolution from what you do, not say. If you hit them, they will hit. If you sulk, so will they.

    Plan weekly menus

    If you buy your groceries once a week and stock your fridge, plan a menu for the week for your cook or yourself with healthy snacks as well as mini indulgences. If your children and

    ... more 

    Plan weekly menus

    If you buy your groceries once a week and stock your fridge, plan a menu for the week for your cook or yourself with healthy snacks as well as mini indulgences. If your children and staff have a meal plan to follow through the day, then even if you're out or at work, they won't fuss too much and you won't be stressed whether they are eating correctly.

    less 
    1 / 14
    Yahoo Lifestyle | Photo by Getty Images/Fuse
    Mon 12 Aug, 2013 4:30 PM IST

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Cannes gets a Fassbender "Macbeth" suffering combat stress
    Cannes gets a Fassbender "Macbeth" suffering combat stress

    By Michael Roddy CANNES, France (Reuters) - Michael Fassbender is a "Macbeth" for our times, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while Marion Cotillard is a Lady Macbeth haunted by the loss of a child, in the final competition entry screened on Saturday for the top Cannes prize. Most critics appear to think Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "Nie Yinniang" (The Assassin), about a martial arts killer, is the most deserving. It is followed closely by Hungarian director Laszlo …

  • Big B rehearses even with spotboys, reveals 'Piku' director

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Shoojit Sircar, the director of "Piku", says that megastar Amitabh Bachchan is so "meticulous" about his work that he begins rehearsing with a spotboy if there is no co-star to give cues on the set. Interacting with film enthusiasts over tea at Poetic License' latest workshop which was held at the Irani Cafe, Excelsior here on Friday, Sircar spoke candidly on the making of "Piku", which features the Big B with Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan in key roles. "Mr. Bachchan …

  • From Austria to Australia, Eurovision casts net wide for 60th year
    From Austria to Australia, Eurovision casts net wide for 60th year

    By Victoria Bryan and Shadia Nasralla VIENNA (Reuters) - A slice of Swedish electro-pop, Italian 'popera' and a pop star from Australia, about as far from Europe as you can get, are among the favourites for this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna. The annual kitsch-fest, watched by more than 195 million people in 40 countries -- more viewers than the Superbowl -- was won last year by Austria's bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst, bringing the show to the Austrian capital better known for …

  • My mom, wife worried about my health: Aamir Khan

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Actor Aamir Khan, who keeps losing and gaining weight for his films according to the demand of the scripts, says it worries his mother and wife. The actor has now gained weight for "Dangal", in which he plays a wrestler, and weighs 95 kg at present. After 20 seconds, I have to (take a long) breath," Aamir told reporters here. …

  • Found my inspiration from a 'besura' singer: Harmeet Singh

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Most present day singers would say they are inspired by legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi, but Harmeet Singh of the Meet Bros Anjjan trio says he was inspired by a discordant singer, whom he saw on TV during his college years. During my schooling, I was winning contests and performing, but I had no family background in music," Harmeet told IANS in an interview. The trio, which comprises Harmeet, his brother Manmeet Singh and Anjjan …

  • Always had Irrfan, Big B in mind for 'Piku': Sircar

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, who has garnered plaudits for his latest box office offering "Piku", says he always had Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan in mind for the film, while Deepika Padukone popped up in his mind once he finished the script. "We had already decided on Irrfan and Amitabh while writing the script. Deepika (Padukone) happened post the script was written," said Sircar, while interacting with film enthusiasts at Poetic License' latest workshop held at the …

  • Badshah's new song 'Pinjra' on honour killings

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) "Pinjra", a new song by rapper Badshah in collaboration with Dr.Zeus and Jasmine Sandlas for "MTV Spoken Word", revolves around the social evil of honour killings. "'Pinjra', in a subtle way, points towards honour killings that are quite prevalent in mainly the northern part of India," Badshah told IANS "MTV Spoken Word" is a monthly feature on channel MTV. …

  • Richa Chadha extends Cannes trip for 'detox'

    Mumbai, May 23 (IANS) Actress Richa Chadha, who went to the French Riviera to attend the 68th Cannes International Film Festival for the screening of "Masaan", has decided to extend her stay as she wants to treat herself to a mini vacation. According to a source, the "Fukrey" actress plans to visit Paris and Amsterdam before she heads back to India to resume the shooting of her next movie with Pooja Bhatt. This would be my way to detox before I'm back to India," Richa said in a statement. …

Loading...