The most common byproduct of having a sibling (especially a biological one), is the 'conflict' aspect of it. Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and sisters Sibling rivalry begins after the birth of the second child. It is manifested as jealousy, competition in academics, sports, extra- curriculars and frequent arguments and fights.
The common causes behind sibling rivalry are:
- Feeling of getting unequal amounts of attention and discipline
- Frequent comparisons
- Individual temperaments including mood, disposition, and adaptability and their unique personalities play a large role in how well they get along.
- The younger child wants to step out of the shadows of the older sibling
- One child might feel that the relationship with the parents is in jeopardy
Just how siblings are as good as engineered to conflict amongst themselves, sometimes, this may lead to one of both of them experiencing acute stress. Sibling rivalry is particularly intense when children are very close in age and of the same gender and/or where one or both children are intellectually gifted. Fighting with siblings as a way to get parental attention may increase in adolescence. Sibling rivalry usually continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents.
Some steps that can be taken to resolve sibling rivalry are:
- By letting the siblings develop their own talents and interests,
- Focusing on cooperating rather than competing
- Not making comparisons
- Set aside "alone time" for each child
- Sharing their thoughts and feelings about it.
- Planning fun family activities together
- Most importantly for parents it's important to listen to both children's opinions
- Facilitate communication between both children
- Modeling positive conflict resolution
- Making certain ground rules for resolving conflicts. For example- no physical violence
- Let both parties speak
- Encourage win-win situations.