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Coping With Sibling Rivalry: Who Gets To Ride That Child's Rocking Horse?

Apr 1, 2008
The shrieking starts when a child feels shortchanged or beaten to the child's rocking horse or PlayStation game. Before going on a rampage yourself, take a deep breath and look at the big picture.Intense sibling rivalry, if not handled properly, can be an incurable wart in your children's adult lives.

Sibling Rivalry

If you have only one kid, you don't have to endure the headaches induced by squabbling children. The fights over who gets the bigger slice of the pie, who takes the child's rocking horse to the porch, or gets the chance to go with mom to the green grocers are trivial, but beware of smoldering resentments if you handle the situation inappropriately.

Sibling rivalry is natural. The fighting between brothers and sisters is always triggered by jealousy, competition, and parental favoritism. It may be a simple argument over who gets what first. If you had the budget, you'd immediately buy each of the children a PlayStation, child's rocking horse, or a bike in the name of household peace and quiet. But what if you don't?

In truth, the rivalry for toys is not about the having the toy first. It's getting to the act first or simply an annoying ploy to irritate a sibling further. The power struggle in the pecking order can be balanced with these tips:

* Observe your children at play. The sneaky sibling will start the squabble by bullying another. Usually the one who is crying his or her lungs out is the aggrieved party. Instead of venting your ire on the child, investigate the situation with an open mind.

* Help the children process their feelings. Talk to them and tell them you understand why the child feels sad, angry, or upset. By acknowledging their feelings, you help the child understand that these feelings are natural and can be resolved.

* Set up rules and consequences when these are violated. When there are rules, it is easier to resolve conflict, and children will obey the rules knowing they have to pay for the consequence of their actions. Rules over name calling, the use of remote control, child's rocking horse, and other prized possessions should be enforced consistently.

* Hold family meetings and let the kids join in the resolution of issues. They'll be more cooperative knowing they had a say in solution of the problem.

* Active participation of both parents in the resolution of conflict and the consistency of their participation is a must.

* Insist on no-name callings and physical harm.

Getting Things Sorted Out

Sibling rivalry extends to the child's gender. If a boy feels that it is unfair for his dad to be lenient with a sister or if a sister feels that dad does not care enough to bring her along those fishing jaunts, there will be conflict.

As parents, it is also very difficult to stay impartial. But that's the only way you can foster happy and harmonious relationships between your children. Providing them team activities in carrying out household chores, playing with the child's rocking horse, computer, and train sets can get them coordinating with each other.

Here are some practical tips to get you by:

* Do not compare siblings.
* Do not be consistently angry with the kids.
* Give them frequent reminders about the rules.
* Set up a schedule for play time and work time.
* Organize more fun activities for the entire family.
* Always resolve issues and don't let anger fester overnight.
* Review your attitude about the situation.

And next time you shop, try getting another child's rocking horse, dollhouse, or scooter, but explain to them they'll have to wait their turn with the toys and the stuff they frequently quarrel over. It'll keep sibling rivalry at bay.
About the Author
Get a child's rocking horse, unique kids' beds, and children's table and chairs to complete your kids' personal spaces. Visit RonJuneShop.com today.
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