19 June 2009

Sibling Rivalry


Last night our coffee group for mothers with pre-schoolers (run through our church) had a Sibling Rivalry night. A lovely and very wise (and gifted & funny) lady called Keri came to share some tips with us.

I must mention that we had amazing, yummy food, heaps of laughs and totally lost track of time.

When I mentioned in this post a while ago about this night, a couple of people said they were keen to hear any tips from the night... so here are the things I gleaned from the night (all credit to Keri here)!

Encourage your children to express their feelings!
Rather than always dealing with the issue, encourage your child to use their words and explain their feelings, rather than dismissing the negative feelings about a sibling. Sometimes this can be enough to diffuse the situation in itself! There is a distinction between allowing feelings and allowing actions.

Avoid comparisons
I've always avoided comparing my children as I knew this could cause issues later, but I had gotten into the trap of doing positive comparisons, which can also lead to rivalry! i.e. look at the way Bobby (isn't Bobby just the best example name) is standing nicely, Bobby never blah blah blah.

Keri encouraged us to talk to our children directly about situations without any reference to other siblings, focusing on what we see, like or don't like and what needs to be done. Great tip!

Teach your kids that life won't always be 'equal'
Some parents try to keep everything equal - but life isn't like that is it!! I have come across this a bit in the last few years when children have been invited out to birthday parties and the ones left home are sad... sometimes I'm tempted to treat them just so everyone is happy and everything is 'equal'.

Keeping everything equal is really setting up kids to compare themselves with each another, rather than learn to be happy for each other when one is blessed.

I loved this quote that was shared, "Children don't need to be treated equally. They need to be treated uniquely".

It's more about meeting their needs than their greed! Sometimes one child 'needs' new shoes and the other doesn't... their turn will come later.

Other topics were also discussed, like battling over property, tattling, new babies, when to get involved in fights between children etc.

I personally thing Keri should start up her own help hot line for parents!

There was so much other great stuff shared and if I don't watch it I would end up typing out all the notes we were given.

My most favourite part is when everyone shares their unique situations and the solutions are discussed... and we all realise we are all NORMAL mums (well, sort of).

Anyway, hang in there any of you who are struggling with rivalry in your home... and don't be afraid to ask around your family and friends for help, tips etc. There are wonderful people about in the community, churches, great books and organisations like Parents Inc. and Focus on the Family etc.

You will probably find that there are many going through the exact same situations as you!

I will leave you with this thought from our notes - "The family is where we learn our relationships skills for life".

What you are doing is important!

4 comments:

  1. Parenthood really can be one great big tightrope walk. I have always been uber eagle-eyed on the fallout from what I do or say, but it can all feel very uphill with my close-in-age kidlets.

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  2. Hey Kristy, thanks for sharing those tips; I like that quote about being treated UNIQUELY rather than equally. xx

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  3. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. My three girls were and still are so different that they couldn't be treated the same. I tried to be fair, but not necessarily equal all the time. I find the same is true with the grands. It's easier with the grands though. Great tips. Wish i'd had some of them before mine were grown. no parent is perfect.

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