We’ve all been there. We leave the children happily playing while we go stir a pot on the stove, and two minutes later they'e busting into the kitchen, screaming and pointing fingers! Aaaargh! What did you do wrong?
The answer is nothing really. Sibling rivalry simply comes with the territory when you have more than one child, and even the most harmonious siblings grate on one another from time to time. You see, for the most part, children are naturally good and actually eager to get along, but when big emotions overwhelm them, the battles break out.
If you often hear whining that you favour a sister or brother, you are constantly the umpire in "he-said-she-said" tattle-tales, or you find yourself breaking up squabbles or fights on a regular basis, you can be sure that their sense of connection to you and with each other is low.
It is this disconnection that allows feelings between siblings to grate and to grow. Soon the feeling of discord takes over, and tempers fray.
But there are practices that you can introduce into your family, which foster feelings of long-term connection, fairness, and attention that siblings need to thrive. Practices that let you continually check in and boost connections.
With the following five strategies in place, you can be sure each child is getting frequent undivided attention, as well as space for each of them to listen and be heard. This will soothe fears that erupt in sibling rivalry.
These five family habits do take planning, and may need adapting for your own family situation, but dedication to putting them into practice with some regularity will help build lasting bonds between your siblings. With practice, they’ll help everyone get along better.