Sibling Rivalry

How to Be Fair as a Parent

  • Do not take sides; rather show the kids how to work out the problem.
  • Validate your childs’ feelings. Acknowledge that the aggressor may need to express some frustrations.
  • Help your children channel their feelings into creative outlets, e.g. have a pillow fight to release hostile feelings.
  • Give children in fantasy what they do not have in reality, e.g. “You wish your sister could go away for awhile.”
  • Beware of putting your children into roles by labelling and stereotyping, e.g. “You are the responsible one!” or “You are so stubborn!” Exercise: See whether or not any of your children is playing a role, for whatever reason, and think about how you might free that child to become his most whole self.
  • Treat your children as individuals; do not compare.
  • Be willing to accept the fact that your children may not like each other; so do not put them in situations that may be difficult for them.
  • Focus on your childrens’ individual needs. Give time to your children in terms of need, e.g. do not worry about it being equal time.
  • Show your children how they are loved uniquely.
  • Do not give attention to the aggressor. Many times the aggressor is looking for attention, by responding to the aggressor first, you are inadvertently rewarding him/her for their negative behaviour.
  • Be careful of identifying too much with one child according to how you were raised; remember each child is unique.
  • Focus on a child’s abilities, not their disabilities.

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