by Ashley Pugh -

Tips to Overcome Sibling Rivalry in Your Family

a brother and sister walk arm in arm
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Do you feel like your family is stuck in a constant cycle of bickering and competition? If so, you’re not alone. Sibling rivalry is something that many families must learn to cope with, but it doesn’t have to be something that tears your family apart.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips to help you overcome sibling rivalry in your family.

Definition of Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is the competitive relationship between siblings that often occurs when children are growing up. It's normal for siblings to compete for their parents' attention, and sometimes this can lead to arguments and conflict.

2 young brothers pull faces

Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

Causes of Sibling Rivalry

There are many possible causes of sibling rivalry. Some of the most common are:

Differential Treatment: Parents may unintentionally show favoritism towards one child in a family, causing the other sibling to feel devalued and jealous.

Birth Order: Studies have found that birth order can play a role in sibling rivalry, with older children feeling more responsible for younger siblings and resenting them for not “pulling their weight”.

Copying: Younger siblings often copy the behavior of their older siblings, sometimes intentionally to get attention and other times unintentionally. This can lead to a feeling of competition between the siblings as they strive to outdo each other.

Gender Differences: Gender differences can also contribute to sibling rivalry, as boys and girls often have different interests and compete to be the “better” gender.

Attention Seeking: Siblings may also engage in rivalry as a way to get attention from their parents, especially if the parents are often busy with work or other commitments.

Sibling rivalry is a natural and normal part of growing up, but it can become a problem if it is allowed to escalate. Parents should try to recognise the causes of sibling rivalry and take steps to minimise the conflict between their children.

2 twin girls on sofa

Photo by Josue Michel on Unsplash

Tips For Overcoming Sibling Rivalry

Establish family rules: Parents should set rules and boundaries that all family members need to follow. This will help create a more harmonious atmosphere and allow each child to express their feelings without fear of punishment.

Give each child individual attention: Parents should make sure to spend quality time with each child every day. This will help each child feel valued and important, and reduce the feeling of competition and rivalry between siblings.

Encourage positive communication: Parents should teach their children how to communicate effectively and respectfully. This will help reduce the chances of conflict between siblings.

Set aside time for the siblings to be together: Parents can help foster positive relationships between siblings by encouraging them to spend time together. This could be a weekly game night, movie night, or just helping each other with projects or chores.

Listen and be understanding: Parents should try to understand their children and be willing to listen to their concerns. This will help reduce feelings of resentment towards each other, and help them to learn how to resolve conflicts.

Avoid Comparisons – Resist the urge to compare your children to one another. Comparing siblings can cause further resentment and conflict.

Celebrate Each Child’s Success – Celebrate each child's successes, no matter how small. This will help build self-esteem and reduce resentment between siblings.

a brother and sister walk arm in arm

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Encourage Positive Interaction – Encourage your children to interact in positive ways, such as playing games or engaging in activities together.

Set Rules and Expectations – Let your children know what type of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable. Be sure to provide them with clear guidelines and expectations.

Establish Fair Rules of Engagement – Let your children know that you expect them to treat each other with respect. Be sure to emphasize the importance of taking turns and being kind to one another.

Supervise Interactions – Monitor your children's interactions with one another so that you can intervene when necessary.

Praise Good Behavior – Praise your children when they show good behavior towards one another.

Create opportunities for bonding: Sibling relationships can be strengthened by doing activities together. Have your children work on a project or go to a family outing, so that they can get to know each other better.

Model positive behavior: It’s important to remember that your kids are watching and mimicking your behavior. If you demonstrate respectful communication and conflict resolution skills, you can show your children how to handle disagreements in a healthy way.

Set clear boundaries: One of the best ways to reduce sibling rivalry is to set clear boundaries. Establishing expectations for how siblings should treat each other is essential. Explain to your kids that it’s OK to disagree and have different opinions, but that it is not OK to be disrespectful or aggressive towards each other.

a young sister and brother

Photo by Bailey Torres on Unsplash

By following these tips, you can help reduce the frequency and severity of sibling rivalry in your family. With a little patience, understanding, and effort, you can create a more peaceful home.

Sibling Rivalry FAQ:

Sibling rivalry is a natural part of family life, but there are steps parents can take to reduce the amount of conflict between siblings. Firstly, encourage your children to express their feelings. Encourage them to talk about disagreements and differences, rather than bottling it up. Secondly, make sure each child has their own space and activities. Everyone needs their own ‘down time’, and having their own hobby or activity can help prevent them from competing for the same things. Finally, get involved in your children’s activities. Show an interest in what they’re doing and make sure each child is treated equally. By doing this, you can help reduce the amount of sibling rivalry in your family.

Sibling relationships can be complicated, but there are steps parents can take to help siblings build understanding and get along better. One important technique is to encourage open communication. Encourage your children to talk to each other about their feelings, and be ready to listen if they need help resolving a disagreement. Make sure each child feels heard and respected. Another important technique is to set boundaries. Create family rules that are easy for your kids to follow, and enforce them consistently. It’s also important to set limits on teasing and fighting. Make sure your children understand that it’s not okay to hurt each other physically or emotionally. Finally, make sure to show your children love and affection. Celebrate the special bond they share, and remind them regularly that they are part of a loving family. With patience and understanding, you can help your children develop a close, respectful relationship.

Yes, sibling rivalry can actually have some benefits! It can help siblings learn how to compete in a healthy way and develop important skills, like problem-solving and communication. It can also help siblings become better at handling disagreements and making compromises, which can be beneficial in many aspects of life. Lastly, it can lead to increased closeness and understanding between siblings - after all, competition can be a bonding experience!

Having healthy communication between siblings is so important! Here are a few tips to help siblings learn to communicate better with each other: 1. Make time to talk. Setting aside time to talk to each other on a regular basis can help siblings stay connected and engaged with each other. 2. Listen to each other. Make sure each sibling is heard and given the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings. 3. Respect each other. Siblings should treat each other politely and show respect for one another's opinions. 4. Be honest. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to relationships, including among siblings. 5. Compromise. Learn the art of compromise and negotiate agreements between each other. By following these simple steps, siblings can learn to communicate better with each other and strengthen their relationship.

There are many strategies that can help siblings get along better. One of the most important things is to encourage open communication between them. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, listen to each other, and express their needs. Also, make sure to create clear boundaries for the siblings and set expectations for their behavior. Establishing a reward system for positive interactions can also be beneficial. Finally, emphasize the importance of respect and make sure that children feel like they are both valued and heard. By following these strategies, siblings can learn to better get along with each other.

Conflict resolution is an important skill for parents to teach their children. It can help them to build healthy relationships and learn how to work through disagreements in a constructive way. Here are some tips for helping children resolve conflicts: • Encourage children to talk openly and honestly about how they are feeling, and help them to learn to recognize and express their emotions. • Model healthy communication skills, such as active listening, understanding, and expressing empathy. • Help children to come up with solutions that are acceptable to both parties. • Teach children to take responsibility for their actions and be respectful of others. • Remind children that they can always come to you if they need help to resolve a conflict. With these tips, parents can help their children develop the skills they need to handle conflicts in a positive way.

One of the best ways to ensure that each child in your family feels valued is to make sure to give them individualized attention. Make sure to give each child 1:1 time with a parent so that every child can have a chance to express their thoughts, feelings and ideas. Also, be sure to give each child specific, positive and meaningful praise when they do something well. Lastly, remember to show your children that you love them not just with words, but also with small gestures like hugs, high fives, and shared laughter. All of these things will help your children feel valued and cherished in your family.

Yes, it is possible to reduce sibling rivalry through positive reinforcement. When siblings act out or compete with each other, it's important to recognize and reward any positive behavior they show. Positive reinforcement can be done by praising any cooperation or compromise they make, or by providing rewards for good behavior. This can help build a more positive relationship between siblings and reduce rivalries. It's also important to set boundaries and establish ground rules so that everyone knows what is expected from them. With positive reinforcement, siblings can learn to appreciate each other and reduce any rivalries in the home.

Sibling rivalry can have a significant impact on a child's self-esteem. It can create a sense of competition between siblings, which may lead a child to feel inadequate or inferior. This feeling can make them doubt their own abilities, leading to low self-esteem. In addition, when siblings fight, it can be damaging to the child's sense of security, causing them to feel unsafe and uncertain. Research has also suggested that sibling rivalry can lead to children feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected from their family. All of this can have a negative effect on a child's self-esteem. It's important to remember, however, that sibling rivalry is a normal part of development and can help children learn important skills such as problem solving and negotiation.

Encouraging positive interactions between siblings is an important part of parenting. Here are a few tips on how to create a positive environment for siblings to interact: 1. Set clear expectations – Have a conversation with your children and explain why it’s important for them to respect each other and treat each other kindly. Setting clear expectations from the beginning will go a long way in helping them interact positively. 2. Show them how it’s done – Model the behavior you want to see from your children. If you and your partner show your children how to interact positively and treat each other with respect, they’ll learn by example. 3. Praise positive behavior – When you see your children interacting positively with each other, praise the behavior and reinforce it. This will help them understand that good behavior is appreciated and will encourage them to keep it up. 4. Give them quality time together – Spend time with your children and make sure they have quality time together. This will help them bond and create positive memories together. 5. Create family rituals – Create family-oriented rituals or activities that siblings can do together. These activities can be anything from playing a game together, to having dinner together, or doing a special project together. By following these tips, you can help create a positive environment in which your children can interact and build a strong bond with each other.

Ashley Pugh Written by
Ashley Pugh

Ashley Pugh is one of the Co-Founders of and has been committed to writing family related content since 2008. There isn't much about family attractions that Ashley doesn't know, after visiting hundreds of them worldwide over the last 20 years.

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