When we have more than one child, we imagine that our youngsters will enjoy loving sibling bonds that keep them comforted and help them to learn everything from confidence to sharing and beyond. In reality, however, even siblings that get along well will likely spend a great deal of their time bickering.
In extreme cases, these sibling rivalries can even turn your house into a war zone. This is a reality that you would do anything to avoid, and if it’s happening to you then you likely try whatever you can to heal those rifts. However, your efforts here may well be fuelling those sibling rivalries in a few surprising ways, the most pressing of which we’re going to discuss here.
Misunderstanding fairness and equality
By definition, equality involves making sure that your children have the same of everything which, as well as failing to meet their unique needs, more directly sets them up in opposition. By comparison, fairness that involves more specifically meeting the unique needs of each child in a balanced way is far better for positive relationships. This is true of everything from gifts through to rule-setting and even the way that you handle your will and inheritance down the line. After all, an ‘equal’ approach that sees one child getting half of something that they don’t necessarily need or want but that their sibling does increase the risks of trust litigation and lasting arguments. By comparison, a fair approach that sees each child receiving only the things that they want and value is far more likely to help them remain close.
Piling on the pressure
We all want to support our children individually, but often, this support takes the form of pressure that only worsens sibling rivalries. After all, if one child is receiving ample amounts of so-called support, then they’re more likely to resent the child that’s slipping under the radar, while that child will likely resent the attention their sibling is receiving. In both cases, they’re then likely to lash out at each other, thus worsening bad feelings and increasing sibling divides. To avoid this, it’s worth removing pressure of any kind for a truly supportive grounding with regards to both personal development and sibling relationships overall.
Forcing sibling relationships
Forcing sibling relationships is also problematic considering that two kids from the same household can be incredibly different depending on their experiences. This can make two siblings entirely incompatible in a close friendship sense. That doesn’t necessarily need to be a problem if they’re left to their own devices, but if you’re continually forcing them together or making them embark on joint activities that they’re not interested in, then it’s far more likely that those differences will make themselves known. In these instances, it’s therefore typically best to leave your children to interact as they see fit, making a positive relationship more likely even if it is from a distance.
Sibling rivalries can tear your home apart. Make sure you aren’t worsening the problem by avoiding these mistakes!