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  1. #1

    Question How to deal with sibling rivalry?

    I have a 3-year-old daughter, and my husband has to boys when we got married. We both knew that we will all go through several adjustments when we moved in particularly the kids. I can feel that they love one another, but I know that a rivalry is something that is most common to come between them. I also know that there are many contributing factors to sibling rivalry. But this has been going on a month or two after we started living as a family. My husband and I always try our best to make sure the kids know their importance to us, but they still keep going on with it. It is extremely exhausting that I couldn't determine when to get involved or to let them work it out on their own.

    I'd really appreciate your suggestions. Thank you!
    Last edited by iamafirsttimeMummy; 25th October 2013 at 11:30 AM.

  2. #2
    Hello iamafirsttimeMummy,

    How are you getting on?

    Thank you for sharing about your family life here. My main thought after reading your post is that one-two months is such a short time for you all to get used to living together as one family. This is a huge change for everyone and is likely to take closer to a year until this transition time is complete.

    In the meantime, I would just do more of the same; love each other and be gentle with each other. Your daughter will still need lots of one-on-one time with you after such as big change so I would recommend factoring that into each day.

    Along the way, everyone will need plenty of cuddles and understanding and I would expect some temporary behaviour issues as everyone adapts to living together?

    How old are the boys?

    I think excellent communication is key here too. You need to allow your daughter and your sons the freedom and security to express how they are feeling. This is much like the advice that Dr. Sears gives in preparing an older child for the arrival of a new baby. This involves allowing your children to express exactly how they are feeling about the new family setup; both their positive and negative feelings. For example, you could say 'sometimes I think it must be nice for you having a bigger family now but sometimes it must be hard/ feel funny too'. Younger children can draw a picture to describe how they are feeling. It is important for your children to know that their feelings are accepted and acknowledged and that it is normal to have both positive and negative feelings about their new family.

    I can also highly recommend this article: 20 Tips to Stop Quibbling and Promote Sibling Harmony. This included tips like using humor to diffuse a situation (I actually saw this method in action at a playgroup this week when two children were pulling a toy and the mum just made a really silly face and it worked fab) and 'choosing your battles' (i.e. ignore little squabbles but address important ones/ bigger ones).

    Something that has really helped our family with dealing with sibling rivalry is understanding that, whilst we love each of our children equally, we do not have to treat them the same all of the time. Our children have different needs at different times. For example, I may need to buy my youngest son a new pair of shoes this week and it may be best that I let my eldest son spend extra time using his drums in the morning. Every child is unique and at a different age and stage. Children themselves understand this.

    Please do let me know what you think of these suggestions and we can offer you some more suggestions and resources.

    Warm wishes,
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 24th November 2013 at 07:14 AM.

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