How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry Effectively: What Should You Do As A Parent?

Parenting is an art to raise the children who respect everyone including themselves. We should not start forcing our adult-ish attitude upon them. They should grow naturally without molding or any pattern. This liberation can make them a happy and a fearless soul. Allow your child to move freely and try to accept child’s vision. If he wants to climb a tree, be a guide do not fear that he will fall down. Maybe your fear is love and care but it is stopping your child to grow naturally. Read ahead to know more on how to deal with sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry- A Rising Issue:

how to deal with sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry is a common issue faced by most parents and has been around as long as there have been brothers and sisters. Simply put, it happens when one child gets more attention than others and from there, starts rivalry. You cannot expect a mother to love equally and entertain every child’s requests or tantrums. Children are great observers. They start brooding over one NO to them and a YES to their sibling’s demands and that intensifies the rivalry.

Every child is different from other, some are good at sports but not Academics and other one is good at Academics but not vocal or extrovert like his siblings. Then this situation makes the other child more nervous and he is taught to be good at everything but never to be true or to find his own talent.

Children may be angry and fight with each other, but next moment they are holding each other’s hands and playing games, So we should encourage them to be open about  their feelings, because suppressing it will lead to bigger problems in future. This can have an impact on equation they share with their siblings and parents.

Many a times parents are caught with their own issues and problems and that’s when they wonder how to deal with sibling rivalry.

Causes of Sibling Rivalry:

1.Attention Seeking Attitude

If the parents are busy, the child tries to seek their attention and they start misbehaving as it will instantly grab their attention.

2.Sharing Stuff

Children easily get attached to toys and are inclined more towards materialistic life, they are too young to understand the struggle their parents face in fulfilling their demands. The tendency of a child is to possess or own things and they refuse to share the same with their siblings or friends and that creates jealousy leading to sibling rivalry.

how to deal with sibling rivalry

3.Personality Clashes

There are also some others issues such as behavior or personality clashes between siblings,  some are extrovert while the other one is introvert. If you keep praising one of them and comparing kids, it will create feelings of jealousy and hatred among them.

4.Talents and Skills

As the children grow i.e. who are about 4 to 5 years of age, they are more sensitive to the concept of sibling rivalry at this age. They are in a stage where they want nothing but the best, they don’t accept things as it is and demand for more. There are times they notice some talents or qualities that their siblings have and how they get applauded for the same, that where they start feeling threatened.

This may lead to an increase in his/her aggression or maybe he/she becomes more jealous. But there is also a possibility that young one feel discrimination when he/she sees the privileges the older one is getting.

Sibling rivalry is a very serious topic for working parents i.e. when parents go out for work, the eldest sibling controls the household activities and tries to dictate his/her terms on the younger sibling. Most siblings then go through some phase of inferiority at this point.

Many researchers have proven in their research that television and movies also play major role in developing this rivalry as they learn violence and disrespecting each other by observing some characters.

Negative Effects of Sibling Rivalry:

Sibling rivalry affects the family and can be destructive, it further affects the society as well. The parents should be aware of the causes of sibling rivalry and how to keep it to a minimum level and how to conquer it if it arises.

The parents should not worry or take stress instead maintain peace and harmony in the family by opening the channels of communication with each other. Although arguments and little brawls will always be there but if it is handled with maturity, it will not grow into hatred and feelings of discrimination.

1. Effects on The Parents’ Marriage

Many a times in order to resolve a dispute the parents tend to take sides and that’s where you fuel the situation even more and cause the differences between childres to affect your own relationship with your better half as well. Also both parents will have difference of opinion in solving a quarrel and that difference causes unrest in family.

2. Violence

There can be more severe negative effects seen in siblings such as violence, causing injury to themselves or others. This violent behavior is not acceptable as it will progress from family to society.

3. Long-Term Effects

The lifelong relationship between siblings will be hard to adjust. They will disperse in the times of difficulty in the family and cannot live united. So here the role of parents is very important to tackle the situation.

4. Bad Company

Other negative effects of siblings rivalry are that siblings try to move out of the house in search of companionship or friendship. Many people can misuse the hatred that has been bottling in them against the family. If the company of friends is good then it will help to overcome the problem whereas if they are in a bad company of friends it will ruin their life.


5. Substance Abuse

They start using drugs, alcohol or they do not like to mix up in a family get together or social gatherings. But if the parents are aware they can bring them back to his/her family with the help of family counselor or therapists.

How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry:

Generally, parents believe that there should be cordial or congenial relations between their children but disputes are bound to happen between them, which is very natural.

Do not let your child feel that you love other one more than him/her. Parents should develop a caring attitude towards every child. As children are great observers they watch your behavior. Parents should also avoid comparisons between siblings as it generates the feeling of jealousy.

Parents have to be very cautious in settling the disputes between them. Refrain from taking sides. Careful steps should be taken to avoid this spat into violence. Parents should be very strict sometimes to avoid these conflicts. Tell them violence cannot be tolerated. Tell them to settle the issues peacefully. But never punish your child in front of the other child. Do not scold openly. Take him/her in other room and once the dispute is over always praise your children.

Tell them to lead for completing the task for domestic chores or any other activities. Eldest one should act like a supporter to every sibling i.e. like an ally of parents.

What should Parents concentrate on?

Do not force your    child to share everything, because something is a very special possession for them. Abstain from discussing one’s problem with other siblings. Do not let them feel undervalued by any kind of manipulation in solving the sibling rivalry.

You have to be very fair and calm. Pour out your love like a river; ultimately it is the lack of love which is the root cause of sibling rivalry.   Sometimes over discipline can harm the relationship with parents. Try to spend more time with your children. Take them for outing. Everything you do for your children is noticed by them very meticulously.

The problem of sibling rivalry or we can say the main reason behind this problem is jealousy, comparison, competition. Generally, the problem starts when the second child takes birth in the family. The whole attention of the parents shifts towards the second child in caring for that infant.  And here the eldest child feels neglected and stressful. Fortunately, there are lots of measures parents can take to solve this problem.

The first and foremost step to take is stopping comparison as each child is unique, and don’t let any of the children feel neglected or unwanted.

Secondly, encourage them to be and work like a team always on a mission to keep home a happy place. Teach them to be helpful and treat them when you notice good behaviour as it will make the do the good more.

As we know that small children try to seek attention, a proper communication with them is a very effective remedy. Listen to their problem carefully and help to resolve issues non-violently.

how to deal with sibling rivalry

Grandparents have a good way of improving equation with children at home, by being like them, telling them stories and moral lessons in a fun and playful way. The child does not feel left out.

Try to be friendly with your children so they can share things with you. Take the help of family counselors or therapist to encounter the problem of sibling rivalry.


When you understand the child, the child understands you. Children are very responsive. They have their visions, understandings; their lovely ways, let us understand this. Be respectful, be understanding and become a guide, not a dictator.

how to deal with sibling rivalry




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