How to deal with sibling rivalry?

Topic of Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Following are the causes for sibling rivalry
  3. Here are some tips for parents that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry
  4. Conclusion


Almost anyone who has a sibling knows, some kind of rivalry is common. All of us have dealt with it in our childhood. 

For many of us, the rivalry lessens as we grow up and becomes just something to laugh about at family gatherings. Sibling rivalry is a common yet very complicated issue to deal with.

In this blog, we will discuss what causes sibling rivalry and how parents can resolve the issue between the siblings.


Following are the causes for sibling rivalry:

1. Demand for attention:

Your first born may feel that their relationship with you is threatened by the arrival of a second baby or the second child feels that the elder born is getting more attention. In this situation they may behave cranky and frustrated.

2. Role of family dynamics:

Sibling relationships become problematic and lead to jealousies if parents always praise and take the side of the particular child and the other one feels left out.

3. Children’s developmental stages:

Siblings in different ages go through different stages of development. Thus develop different levels of cognitive consciousness. Not sharing the same interest may lead to conflict.


4. Evolving needs:

It''s natural for kids to change their needs and interests as they grow. Constant changes affect a child''s  behavior and cause them anxiety. It becomes difficult for them to relate to one another. For example, children are naturally possessive of their toys and belongings. So if a baby brother or sister picks up their toy, the older child may react aggressively which results in rivalry among the siblings.

Ever since we accepted the fact that sibling rivalry is a normal occurrence in a family system, we had a hard time figuring out what to do about it.


Here are some tips for parents that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry:

1. Never compare kids with each other:

When parents make comparisons among kids, whether it’s intentional or not, they are stoking fire to sibling rivalry. Every child is unique and feels resentment if compared with their own sibling. It results in a self-destructive attitude in the child who feels inferiority complex with the sibling.


2. Do not suppress child’s resentment:

It is normal for siblings to fight or get angry with each other and have the impulse to fight physically. It is important to learn self-control and understand that  these angry feelings do not give them license to behave in cruel and dangerous ways. As a parent, it is your responsibility to acknowledge your kid’s temperament and resentment. Talk about their feelings and understand the reason behind their impulse.

3. Be vigilant to favoritism:

Parents can reduce the opportunity for rivalry by refusing to compare, assort, or typecast their children. Understand that every child is different. Try to avoid creating biases towards one child.

4. Celebrate individuality:

Kids are less likely to fight and argue if they feel that you appreciate them as an individual. Your acceptance matters a lot to your kids. Appreciating individuality boosts their self-confidence.


5. Praise them in public and punish in private: 

Never punish your kid in public. If a quarrel takes place between the siblings and you feel that they need to be punished then, try not to make the conversation public. This way the child will feel more embarrassed and feel the animosity between siblings. If your kids are being nice and supportive to each other, praise them. This will encourage your little ones to always behave that way.

6. Find activities siblings can try together:

When siblings are encouraged and motivated to play and do creative things together, from time to time, the bond between them is strengthened. By doing this, they expand their horizons of comfort by finding things they like to do together.

7. Don’t Perpetuate Sibling Rivalry:

Never let your one child compete with their siblings, and don’t let them blame the other kids for being favored.  They might go out of their way to remain the favorite, you can’t blame them for wanting their parent’s attention and approval all the time.




Sibling rivalry often involves negative emotions and feelings like envy, jealousy, inferiority complex, or resentment that lead to fights, arguments, competition, and resentment for power and attention. Siblings will fight no matter how hard you try to stop them. However, the problem-solving techniques we discussed above will help you teach them the importance of self-control, acceptance and make their sibling bond stronger.

You can also read:

How to foster your child’s self-esteem.

Amazing brain exercises for your child.

Do you know how to care for kids?Here''s everything to cover

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