- Lauren Dungy
- Shaunti Feldhahn
- Tim and Darcy Kimmel
- Betsy Landers
- Dr. Walt Larimore
- Mark Merrill
- Joanne Miller
- Dr. Gary J. Oliver
- Kathy Peel
- Dr. Greg Smalley
- Dr. Scott Turansky
- Jill Savage
Articles by Dr. Greg Smalley
- Winning Your Husband Back
- Why Teenagers Like to Argue
- Ways to Communicate Effectively
- Watch What You Say or Later You’ll Pay
- The Secret To Protecting Your Marriage From Infidelity
- The Secret to Becoming a Balanced Parent
- The Meaning of Leaving and Cleaving
- The Heart of Marriage
- The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Children is a Strong Marriage
- The Danger of Negative Expectations
- Talking Through the Touchy Subjects
- Six Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child
- Six Adolescent Needs….Meet Them or Else!
- Protecting Fun Activities from Conflict
- Men and Intimacy
- Is Your Heart Open to Love?
- I Wish My Daddy Was A Dog
- I Feel Loved When You...
- I Don't Love My Husband Anymore
- I Believe in You!
- How to Make Wise Decisions...And Stay in Harmony
- How to Heal a Wounded Heart
- How do my thoughts affect my view of my spouse?
- Home: The Safest Place on Earth
- Helping Teenagers Resist Peer Pressure
- Forget the Weeds in Your Life, Focus on the Flowers
- For The Love of Hannah
- Do I deserve time for myself?
- Communication: 5 Harmful Marriage Communication Habits
- Communication That Can Cause Further Distance
- Becoming a Better Listener
- Become a student of your husband
- A Small Act of Kindness
- 6 Tips for Marital Conflicts Without Casualties
- 5 Ways to Stop Sibling Rivalry
- 4 Parenting Styles
Dr. Greg SmalleyDr. Smalley also helps lead marriage seminars around the world and helps train pastors, professionals and lay leaders how to effectively work with married couples. read bio
5 Ways to Stop Sibling Rivalry
You know they love each other, right? But, boy, when they start that back and forth, it can make you want to scream!
"You aren't really a parent until you've had your second child" quips comedian Bill Cosby. As the parent of two girls, I understand Cosby's statement immediately. I've experienced the frustration that stems from the constant quarreling, bickering, arguing and fighting between siblings. The good news is that sibling rivalry is both normal and inevitable, and usually declines as the kids become adults.
Why do siblings experience rivalry? According to the Children's National Medical Center, the word "rivalry" comes from the Latin word rivalis, which means having the right to the same stream. Reasons for the conflict include a desire for a parent's complete attention, boredom or a dislike for one another.
In response to the fighting, many parents react by yelling, making threats or accusations, taking sides, and solving children's problems for them. Unfortunately, these types of reactions only add fuel to the fire. In other words, when a parent reacts to hostility with hostility, they are inadvertently promoting sibling rivalry. So what can we do as parents to deal with this common problem?
1. Instead of reacting to the fighting by intervening, parents should teach their children to settle things for themselves. Unless it cannot be ignored, such as when someone might get physically injured (hitting, kicking, biting), it's best to stay clear of sibling conflicts. Stepping in may actually reinforce fighting as a way to get attention from mom or dad.
2. If you choose to or need to intervene, instead of blaming either child or jumping to punishment, you may want to remove the source of conflict. For example, if your kids are fighting over a toy or the television, take the item away for a period of time.
3. If conflict persists, separate the fighters by placing them in a "time-out." At the buzzer, bring the kids together to work out a solution without your involvement. Remember, the point is to teach them how to resolve their own problems.
4. Do not expect your children to play together or get along all the time. Instead, provide them with their own "spaces" throughout the day. If toys are used by all, have a box for each child that he or she can put three or so "special" toys in that no one else can use.
5. Give each child individual attention throughout the day, as well as separate activities during the week. This special alone time lowers their need to "capture" their parents' attention, recognizes their individual needs, and reassures them that their place is secure with you.
Related Resource: 5 Ways to Turn Sibling Rivalry into Sibling Revelry
When you and __________ fight, what is it most often about and why? How can we avoid a fight the next time?