Davian sent me an interesting article recently about sibling rivalry. You don’t hear much about this when you are homeschooling – but I certainly get asked about it a lot from non-homeschoolers. A regular comment is “Gosh, my children would just argue the whole time.”
I wonder if sibling rivalry is minimized when homeschooling because our children are together so much – and they learn to get along. But I would think that when you first start homeschooling this could be a real problem. Here is how Davian would deal with it:
Sibling Rivalry: 5 Ways to Help Your Children Get Along with Each Other
Everyone who has a brother or a sister knows how rewarding and simultaneously difficult the relations between siblings are. Sometimes, brothers and sisters can understand each other and coexist peacefully, while on other occasions this becomes very difficult to achieve.
Sibling rivalry affects all children, even if they have the deepest and warmest feelings for each other.
Parents need to understand sibling rivalry in order to discover a viable solution and to make the situation better. Often, sibling rivalry is a minor issue but in rare instances it can turn into something truly challenging and damaging the close relations between siblings.
Jealousy, large age difference and competition between children will inevitably lead to sibling rivalry. One of the kids will feel less privileged than the others, a sentiment that in turn leads to hostility.
At least one of these factors will be present in the family. Competition between siblings can be beneficial, as long as it remains within limit. Parents can undertake certain steps to prevent sibling rivalry or to deal with the problem whenever it occurs.
1. Being There for Your Children
Dismissive attitude can do little to improve the situation. Pretending that sibling rivalry does not exist will do nothing in terms of making things better.
When children come to you with complaints, it is of uttermost importance to listen and to demonstrate your interest in the issues that trouble them. Be attentive and be considerate. Remaining aloof will only show kids that they will have to handle the problem on their own.
2. Encourage Dialogue
Apart from communicating effortlessly with you, children need to learn how to communicate with each other to work on problems.
Before they come to you, children should try to talk to each other. As a parent, it is your duty to encourage open discussion about feelings and personal needs.
If one of your children feels offended in any way, the other one should know that some actions can result in pain and uneasiness. Nobody wants to hurt their loved ones. When children are aware of the emotional results of their actions, they are likely to become more considerate.
3. Set a Personal Example
Children imitate the adults that play important roles in their lives. You are probably aware of this fact already.
When facing a problem with your significant other, for example, refrain from yelling or being temperamental in front of the children. Try to discuss the things that bother you in a civilized manner.
If you yell and accuse others, children are likely to adopt similar manners of communication. Show them how they should be patient and tolerant. The best way to do it is by demonstrating these characteristics yourself.
4. Know the Individual Needs of Each Child
Treating children equally will do little in terms of diminishing sibling rivalry. Your children are different. They have unique characters, qualities and desires.
Learn to distinguish the specific needs of each child. Treat them as individuals. One of your kids probably likes to draw while the other is a good athlete. Refrain from giving them the same gifts or enrolling them in the same classes. Show your children how special they are and how each unique characteristic is valuable.
If you stimulate your kids to develop their specific talents, you will minimize the chance of them competing against each other. This way, each kid will discover something to excel in without experiencing sibling pressure.
5. Work on calm and safe family environment.
Encouraging dialogue and being there for your children is important when you have to resolve conflicts. Be a parent who knows and recognizes individual needs. This is the only way to get your children loving and supporting each other.
Davian Masters is a professional article writer and blogger who has written about babies, parties, and family topics for various websites. To get some baby shower gifts or to check out some baby shower games, visit My Baby Shower Favors.
So, what do you think?
Do homeschoolers have to cope with sibling rivalry more or less than other parents? Have your children gone through a stage of arguing – and what did you do to minimize the situation? Leave a comment and let me know!