Sibling Rivalry


Growing up an only child I never had to worry about sibling rivalry.  Everything belonged to me and I was the center of attention.  My current household is the complete opposite.  I have two sons who are three and six years old.  They love each other very much and enjoy playing together.  However, there are times when conflict takes over.  They fight over everything! Common disagreements include: what to watch on TV, where to sit on the couch, who gets to walk in the door first, and of course who gets to play with what toy.  There is really no end to all of the little things they bicker over.  Can’t we all just get along?


fighting over shovel


Sibling rivalry is a normal part of the family dynamic.  With that being said as parents we can still try to minimize it and use it to teach life lessons.  Children are going to have to deal with conflict throughout their whole lives, what better way to practice conflict resolution than with siblings.  Here are some tips to help minimize the sibling conflicts:

  • Do not to compare your children.  Remember they are two completely different people and cannot be expected to behave the same.  Comparing them constantly can eventually cause resentment between siblings.
  • Let them work it out on their own when possible.  Only step in when absolutely necessary.  Teach them how to resolve the conflicts on their own by giving them suggestions to help guide them in the right direction.
  • Separate the siblings.  Create some space between them, and have them do different activities.  Sometimes all they need is a little time apart.
  • Embrace your child’s feelings.  It can be hard having a sibling sometimes and there is nothing wrong with expressing that. Have open conversations with you children about their feelings.  Let them know that it is normal to be angry or frustrated with a situation, but it is how you handle those feelings that is important.  Always remind them that being mad is no excuse for bad behavior.
  • Make a schedule.  If children are always fighting over the same thing schedule when each child gets a turn.  This is very helpful when siblings are fighting over electronics, or what to watch on TV.
  • Spend one-on-one time with each of your children.  I know with busy schedules this can be hard.  But when its possible do something special with them individually.  Also, make sure the special one-on-one time is spread equally between the children.


Hopefully these tips will help to keep the peace in your household.  What are some of the ways you deal with sibling rivalry in your home?  Share in the comments below!