I have an older sister, and I know that through the years it has not always been the calmest of seas, from bossiness to disagreement, there always seems to be some kind of conflict or rivalry. I do admit that now the storm has settled down in recent days, but still there are moments of argument. How have your relationships been with your siblings?
According to Kidshealth.org, a child’s temperament and personality may determine whether or not he or she will get along with his or her sibling. Kidshealth.org mentions that a calm, reserved child may fight with an easily rattled sibling. I would think that two easily rattled siblings would fight as well, but two laid-back siblings would have a more relaxed relationship. Naturally, some siblings are simply bullies, and others do not like to share. Others are name-callers and mean, but some are kind.
Kidshealth.org mentions the important factor of the parent as a role model and setting the standard for their children. They say that the parent should work through conflicts in a way that is respectful, productive, and not aggressive, that way the children will pick up on the healthy habits and learn to reciprocate. This relates to my previous Father-Son Bond blog post which mentions that the father is a role model for his son. In this case, both parents are role models for all their children.
So what happens when fighting commences? Well, Kidshealth.org suggests to not do anything at all. That is correct. Nothing at all. “Don’t get involved.” But there is a catch. Kidshealth.org says to intervene when there’s risk of physical harm. They say to not intervene because the children should learn how to handle the problems by themselves and not rely on their parents. Then they also claim that if parents intervene, it may appear as if one child is being protected and create resentment with the other sibling, or siblings. This seems like a good argument to me. Do you agree and think that parents should only intervene when children are fighting and there is risk for physical harm? Or should parents be there to guide them through the argument like a sports coach? Or even a referee: personal foul, 15-yard penalty…I don’t think it works like football.
If you do have to intervene, Kidshealth.org suggests not to resolve children’s problems for them but with them. They say it is good to separate the children until the emotions have died down, so that fighting does not escalate again. They also say not to focus too much on which child is to blame because each child is partially at fault. Kidshealth.org says it is good to create a win-win situation for each child involved, so that each child feels a benefit after the conflict. Ice cream, perhaps? The article mentions that if they are arguing over a toy, they can both win by playing a game together instead.
Kidshealth.org lays out some ground rules as well to prevent fighting. For example, they say to tell children to keep their hands to themselves, that there’s no cursing, no name-calling, no yelling, and no door slamming, and make consequences for when they break them. Kidshealth.org says that if your children often fight over the same things, to post a schedule showing which child possesses what items at what times during the week, and if they keep fighting about it, to take it away altogether. How do these rules sound, and what additional rules do you use with your own children? I think teaching your children to be assertive rather than aggressive or passive-aggressive would be a great ground rule to run by. Sharing is caring is a magical rule as well.
There are many reasons that siblings would develop a rivalry. One big issue is having to share. Sharing toys, food, the television, space in the house, etc. That is why it is critical for children to learn how to share, and parents to guide them to see how important it is to share and be assertive and not aggressive or passive-aggressive. But, of course, children don’t always listen and fighting continues. If they do fight and there is a need to intervene, as kidshealth.org suggests, it is important to separate them until they calm down, and it is good to set up a win-win situation, and most importantly set up ground rules to prevent fighting, such as making a schedule for when each child can use different items. Do relationships with siblings get better over the years? That certainly is the goal. Do you get along with your siblings?
“KidsHealth.” Sibling Rivalry. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/sibling_rivalry.html>.