Most of us might remember having some arguments with our siblings in our childhood. Fighting over space, toys, even the attention of our parents are somewhat commonplace among siblings. It is natural to experience emotions like jealousy or anger from time to time. Most of these small issues are actually a wonderful learning ground, through which we learn compromising, sharing, and even negotiating. However, if these small matters turn into resentments or ongoing rivalries, then clearly there are issues that need to be resolved.
Often, we may not even realize that these rivalries exist and successfully sweep them under the carpet, until an issue arises that brings them out. In one case, after losing their elderly mother, the issues among siblings became worse, ending in cold treatment among them. Each blamed the others for not doing enough and the rifts grew. Now they are trying to repair the relation but they do not know where to start.
So how do sibling relationships get this bad? Well, this is not a simple question to answer. Many parents breed sibling rivalries without intending to, of course. Let us take a look at a few behaviours that should be avoided.
- Avoid Favouritism
This is one of the biggest issues in parenting; and it may actually be unconscious. Let’s face it, we are all human, and given that, we would naturally have some preferences. We like certain people and we don’t like others. Though this may be very difficult to admit, but it is possible that we like one of our children more than the others. It might be because they remind us of ourselves, or have some qualities that we value, so even though we think we treat all our kids the same, it might not be true. Remember, kids will be more attuned to your behaviour than you yourself would be. Even if all your kids are getting along, take some time out and think whether you might inadvertently be favouring one over another.
Instead: Learn about their likes, dislikes, and strengths and encourage each child accordingly.
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