Coping with Sibling Rivalry

I would like to say I did a good job managing sibling rivalry.  However lately I don’t have much tolerance for the constant discord between the pair of them.  I don’t know what to do to help.  I don’t expect children to get on 100% of the time that would be unrealistic.  But these two are pretty intense always coming to me to tell me their sibling woes, fake tears and little white lies.  It’s hard to know who did what.  I probably prefer the backchat over these two arguing with each other, it breaks my heart as we had a close age gap I hoped it automatically meant they would be close.  But that bond requires work.

It’s exhausting at times.  They pick each other apart, always fighting about something.  I hoped for a close loving bond between the brothers, but it’s more like dangers drawn 80% of the time.  It’s not particularly physical but its non-stop bickering and name calling.

I know it must have been hard for my eldest when his brother was born.  He was only twenty months himself, so he still needed mummy a lot.  Suddenly my attention was divided.  Looking back at pictures he looked so little it took a lot to adjust to life with a new-born.

So, I am working on strategies to see if I can survive the next few years!

Taking a step back

I try not to take sides anymore.  It can be tough knowing what exactly went on.  So instead I encourage them BOTH to be nicer to one another.  I try and be consistent, so they are both treated the same.  I don’t want them to feel I have a favourite as I love them both very much even when they are challenging!

Sometimes peace is restored but its only ever very short lived.  Helping them learn to sort out the problem themselves is probably the best bet, but I am a bit late starting that.  Before then I hoped to keep everyone happy but its not always possible.  They need to find their own strategies to live in harmony.

Making sure they have their own space

I make sure they both have enough of their own space.  We have two living rooms, so we can spread them out if needed.

Fortunately, they also each have a big bedroom.  Luckily at opposite sides of the house now.  When the bedrooms were next door to each other we found out eldest kept knocking on the wall at bedtime to wind his brother up!!!  Yep the only time sibling rivalry really stops is when they are asleep.

Eldest does appreciate some of his own quieter time listening to an audio book or reading.  Youngest tends to be louder and more boisterous so I try and give him my attention so eldest gets a peaceful hour he really seems to appreciate.

Different friendship groups and hobbies can also make things easier.  If they have a break from each other they do seem happier to see each other again afterwards.

The Get Along T-shirt

I saw a picture once of parents squeezing two children into a t-shirt together to help them get along.  So, we tried that over the half term holidays.  Yes, I guess it was me trying anything as a last resort!  I don’t think it was particularly successful, but it made a nice picture to look back on.

One on One time

We do so much as a family group but not always enough perhaps with each child individually.  I tend to do more with youngest just to get his attention so eldest can have that break he likes.  But I need to schedule more time in with just him too.  Sometimes we let him stay up a little later and have a board game or watch TV with us, but with youngest going to bed later that has fallen to the wayside.  We have been too tired, so I need to find another way to make him feel special with my undivided attention.

Focus on the good times


Try and keep it positive, remind them of all the good times they have had together.  Shared memories.  I guess if you keep mentioning how little they get on they might start to agree with you!

Have you found anything that worked particularly well?

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