Can we prevent sibling rivalry?
October 8, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

Recently, we published an article on how to solve sibling rivalry. Today we will discover that some of the fighting can actually be avoided. Keep reading to learn how to prevent, or at least help ease the fights our children get into.


As parents it´s hard and frustrating to watch our children fight even though we know that their “anger“ can soon turn into love. Depending on the circumstances, age, temperament and emotional maturity of your children, there are different causes that provoke sibling rivalry but the most important one is our own attitude. In order to prevent the fighting, we must first evaluate how we behave with our kids.

Comparisons.  They say that comparisons are harmful because it makes us feel unloved or not appreciated. In fact, making comparisons among siblings can actually increase their rivalry. Each child is unique and should be treated like the special person he is. Instead of saying: Why don´t you play alone like your little sister?  Try this: “If you let me finish this, we can try getting that puzzle together” or “Why don´t you show your little sister (and me) how to draw. You do it so well…”

Individual Attention. Since each child is unique, he deserves and needs to be treated as someone special with his or her own talents and skills. Teach your children how to cultivate a healthy self-esteem and try dedicating your time to each one by following their interests and hobbies. While you may go to an exhibit or on a bike ride with one, you will be reading a book or showing your other child to plant a seed in the garden. Make sure they also have time to play by themselves and with their own group of friends.


Fairness. “It´s not fair” are three words that children use when you treat them equally, a mistake many parents make especially if their children are of a different age and have distinct personalities. When it comes down to educating our kids, not everything has to be equal. Often times, some children need more than others.

Having said this, you must establish certain rules that apply to everyone. Breaking the rules – whether it is “no hitting”, “no slamming doors” or “no insults” – should be accompanied by consequences. This will teach them how to become responsible for their actions.

Appreciating Differences. Your children should learn to appreciate the differences and empathize and respect others. That way, you´ll be teaching them to become tolerant, a very important personal skill they will continue to develop throughout their lives. Besides, it´s a great way to learn new things and deal with different situations.

As parents, we must transmit a positive message when it comes to our own strengths and weaknesses as well as theirs. Learning to laugh at oneself is also very important. They may not be a great soccer player or a ballet dancer but there is no one that can beat them at puzzles or at a game of cards. Each person has his or her own talent. You just need to discover what it is.

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Sharing. One of the things that every child should learn is how to share. And this is your responsibility. Organize fun afternoons at home doing an activity together or discovering a new toy or game. If you want to teach them how to share, be a good role model. Share your time, your ice cream, your music with them and enjoy doing so.

How to manage anger.  Being angry is a very common feeling among all human beings and it isn´t something that should be avoided.  It happens among siblings and it will happen among friends.  The important thing is learning where it comes from and how to control these feelings. But before you teach them, try understanding the way you handle your anger.

If you lose your temper easily, we encourage you to read our tips on how to unwind.

There isn´t a University for parents. It is, however, the most difficult job in the world and one that constantly puts us to the test. Teaching implies learning.

Have these tips helped you to prevent or ease sibling rivalry? Don´t forget to share your thoughts.

Photo Credits: Jewel

Photo Credits: Donnie Ray Jones


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