Friday, January 06, 2006

Sibling Rivalry

Lately, it seems as though I am spending more time trying to get my children to stop fighting than doing anything else. I have been researching online resources trying to find help with this. My children are very young, 2 and 4. I naively thought as they get older they will grow out of this. But, according to this article from the Dr. Dobson website, and many others, my kids are just beginning their journey into brotherly love....

Brotherly Love

by Grace Krienke

Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel, as legendary as Cinderella and her stepsisters and can be as deadly as the daughters of King Lear. Parents should know the battles are likely and must prepare their kids to defuse potentially ugly situations.

Teach mutual respect. Do not allow your children to insult each other. Words are extremely powerful, and snide comments can damage deeply. Experts say every negative comment needs at least five positive remarks to even out. Teach your children to respect and appreciate each other.
Do not play favorites. In Genesis, we see the damage done by JacobÂ’s favoritism of Joseph. Remember that all children are created equal, but not all children are the same. Recognize and praise each childÂ’s individual skills, strengths and accomplishments without implying that one child is somehow better.
Teach conflict-management. Do not deny your child’s feelings, but help him learn to express emotions in an appropriate way. If you see your child acting jealously, encourage him identify the emotion by saying, “I understand that you feel bad because . . .” or “I know you hurt because . . .” Helping your children figure out the causes of their actions will help them learn how to deal with problems in the future.
Do not ignore good behavior. To attention-starved kids, negative attention is simply attention. Notice your children playing nicely together and reward them with praise. Be sure each child receives adequate parental interest and quality time.
Show appreciation for who your child is, not what he does. When a child feels valuable merely for his performance, he will feel the need to prove his worth. Instead, praise your child for his God-given traits such as compassion or a tender heart. By fostering their self-esteem, children can learn to respect themselves and others.
Most parents realize children imitate what they see, so examine the example you set. Do you compete with your siblings? By checking your actions, you can be better prepared to show your children how to emerge the best of friends following the inevitability of a little sibling rivalry.

Copyright © 2001 Focus on the Family. This article first appeared in the May 2001 Growing Years edition of Focus on the Family magazine.

This information was helpful to me. If you have more questions see the website at
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