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A Parent’s Guide to Combat Sibling Rivalry

Posted Jan 31 2010 10:02pm

Vivian is a 15-year-old from Miami, FL. She enjoys music and hanging out with friends. In the future, she hopes to become a psychologist because she loves helping others in their times of need.

Everyday, I am in some kind of fight with my brother and/or my sister. My ears constantly hurt from the excessive yelling being done. My parents sometimes say that people halfway around the world are able to hear us because we’re so loud.  However, parents may be able to help prevent this from happening as often as it does in my household by following these simple steps:

1) Try to be equal.

I remember when my brother received more money as a gift from a family member, and I started thinking that I wasn’t as good as him, or that girls were not as important as boys. This led to even more depressing thoughts, which was an overall bad experience for me. But, a way to keep this from happening is by giving a fair share to everyone. Even though I now realize that it wasn’t even my parents that did this, I should have understood that life ISN’T fair. Nevertheless, parents can assist this by attempting to be equal in everything and by trying to console their sad child by instilling that value.

2) Don’t compare.

“Are you going to win this many awards when you graduate?” This question lingers in my head sporadically as I remember my mom asking me this during my brother’s senior year. Even though I know my mom’s intentions of saying that (so I can try my hardest in high school to be successful), I believe that this is not the way to go in order to motivate a child. Instead of comparing, is it possible to find their own strengths and give them praise and encouragement in their own talents instead of their sibling’s talents? Even though one child gets one award and the other receives ten, can the child that gets one award be praised for their hard work instead of getting looked down upon because of not living up to their predecessor’s achievements?

3) Help create a good and loving relationship.

I really regret not doing this with my brother and sister. Even though when we were young, we got along fine. But as the years progressed, both my relationships with my brother and my sister were just horrible. I could not talk with my brother without being scolded at, and I don’t think we’ve ever had a normal conversation before, us talking was only out of necessity. Also, with my sister: every time I calmly told her something, she would always try not to listen to me. This maybe could’ve been prevented if we had more family oriented activities, like family game or movie night. I think that it is important to have siblings interact with one another as much as possible because sooner or later, they’ll be tired from all of the bickering and learn how to cooperate with one another.

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