Ideas for Avoiding Sibling Rivalry? - Mothering Forums
 
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#1 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS will be 4 when our new baby comes, and is completely in love with/excited about Baby.

However, I have what could at best be described as a rocky to non-existent relationship with my only siste(we haven't spoken since Aug 06), and I know so many other people who have similar problems. I know my parents did the best they could, and did not exactly grow up in healthy homes, but they did not instill much in me about how to raise happy, healthy siblings.

I don't want to be an ostrich and "pretend" that there will never be problems, and that they will love each other 24/7 and never fight, but I do know there are families out there where siblings get along and genuinely care about each others' well-being, and who get along most of the time.

Do any of you have ideas from your own childhoods, or from your own experience raising siblings? Things to do, not to do, tips for conflict resolution, etc??? I guess my biggest concerns are conflict resolution, not creating jealousy, and teaching each one to honor themselves and the other.

EVER so grateful, I am starting to really worry... I don't want to unintentionally set my kids up for lifelong difficulty...
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#2 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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Have you read "Siblings Without Rivalry"? That might be a good start for you.
My kids get along really well, 95% of the time. I'm not sure why that is, though! My oldest three have lived in some pretty close quarters - like, for 4 years, the three of them shared a really small bedroom. Maybe that really helped because it's hard to sit around in a pout when your sister is 2 feet away from you all the time.
My two pieces of advice are, 1) whenever possible, don't get involved in their squabbles. "You guys need to work that out" is my mantra around here. It's easier to resent your sibling after a fight if you feel like you got an unfair ruling from the judge (i.e, parent). 2) Don't compare children. As in "your sister manages to eat without getting food all over the place" or even in a compliment like "wow, you're good at math, just like your sister".
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#3 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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I really resent (still) that my brothers were given specific opportunities and privileges that I was denied, because they were boys and I was a girl. For example, all 3 of my brothers were in the "gifted and talented" program throughout school. My father never let me be tested. All 4 of us took the SAT/ACT our sophomore years in high school - I scored the highest on both tests...I also maintained the highest GPA out of the four of us, but I was never allowed to take the advanced classes, because I was a girl. My brothers were all given BB guns for their 10th birthdays - I asked for one, and instead got a Barbie. When our rooms were being painted, we all chose shades of blue. I was only allowed a very very very pale shade of blue, and was told by my father that any darker was too dark for a girl. My brothers each had very dark shades, my oldest brother a shade close to black.

Petty to be upset about the individual instances now, but they all serve to underline that I am the lesser child because I am female.
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#4 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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My kids all get along great...but I honestly think that its because we treat them all the same no matter what. If A gets in trouble for doing it C will also..THEY all beg to sleep together, B&C cry when A goes anywhere they love love love there big sister. So I think that its being fair, being constent and always making them be friends first before they have other friends over...
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#5 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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I have two sisters we are all 18 months appart, i am the youngest. We fought like cats and dogs about clothes and things mostly growing up. We didn't have the same interests really. I think part of it was one of us excelled particularly in sports, another in academics and another was just all around type. I think the best thing you can do is not put labels on them.

As an aside we all became really close after moving out of the house. We talk daily even though we live on different sides of the country. My girls get along great. We have just enforced the concept of you love your family no matter what. We will see where that gets us when they hit puberty!
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#6 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 03:59 PM
 
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The best way to avoid sibling rivalry is to have one kid.

Since it's a little late for that, I've found that ignoring the little battles. When one of my boys screams "Mom, he took my shoes!" or "It's MY turn to play the game and he won't let me!" I let them work it out on their own. I refuse to play referee.

Having to talk about their differences themselves helps draw them closer and we rarely have any issues now.

Body, I've been more than patient. Please make a baby. Please?
always loving my babies. (May 08)(April 09)(August 09)(September 09) (December 10)
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#7 of 11 Old 09-14-2007, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, already I am getting great ideas. Especially Phantaja!

I too remember my parents constantly trying to find the "fair" solution to our fights... NEVER worked, one always won, one aways lost, and no real knowledge of how to deal with it on our own.

Also, my mom's mom never let her express her feelings at home (according to her) especially anger. So, she always let us say "I hate you!" or "I hate her!" and things like that... I look back now like WHAT?!?!?!? Even now, my mom talks about how she is so proud of how she let us express our feelings, but I feel like there is a point where you don't let your kids talk about they hate each each other and/or their parents. What's you take on this?
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#8 of 11 Old 09-17-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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I'm not raising siblings yet so these are things I think my folks did well in raising us (and we all get along really well, especially as adults!).

My mom's stock answer to our troubles (when we weren't able to resolve them on our own, which we has to try first) was, "Who started it and who ended it." Or if one of use said "G did xyz to me," her reply was always "And what did you do to her?" I think it really helped us to avoid ever feeling justified or superior (we were both equally right and equally guilty).

As far as the I hate you stuff, my memory of that is that our language was redirected not to stifle the angry sentiment but to more appropriate and accurate language. So "I hate you" became "That makes me so angry and hurt" and so forth. There was also a discussion of what "hate" means and why it wasn't accurate language. You might want to check out the gentle discipline forum for more ideas, too. The folks over there are full of creative solutions!

me, wife to dh, the movie geek (7/01), mama to ds1, budding Star Wars geek (10/05), dd, budding princess of the dirt (03/08) and ds2, budding extrovert. watch out! (8/10).
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#9 of 11 Old 09-18-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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I'm not sure what went right at my home growing up but I think there was just a lot of time for my brother and me to play together and lots of understanding that we were younger/ older and that came with responsibilities/ benefits/ detractions. Occasionally my Mom had to pry me away from my big brother so he could go hang out with his older friends but ultimately my brother was a fantastic playmate growing up and I'm so fond of him as an adult. I wish I had more time to spend with him.

We certainly did our share of fighting but we did manage to work things out and ultimately I just knew that I loved him and that he loved me regardless of how big the fight was.

I think we probably laughed as much as yelled.

I think my Mom did a lot of letting my brother initiate play with me as a very small child (3 yrs between us) Apparently he'd grab his little chairs and put one on the outside of the playpen, one on the inside and then jump into the playpen with me and play till he wanted a break and then he'd get out and take the chairs with him so I was still stuck in the playpen.
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#10 of 11 Old 09-18-2007, 02:29 PM
 
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Getting your ds involved can help, but don't push him if he doesn't want to. Let him help pick out baby things, bring him to the U/S, show him pictures of what the baby looks like inside at that stage, things like that.

Be careful not to say anything like "We'll still love you after the baby comes." You can introduce fears that he might not have in the first place. If he expresses concern just hug him and reassure him that you love him and nothing can change that.
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#11 of 11 Old 09-23-2014, 01:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenvh View Post
DS will be 4 when our new baby comes, and is completely in love with/excited about Baby.
However, I have what could at best be described as a rocky to non-existent relationship with my only siste(we haven't spoken since Aug 06), and I know so many other people who have similar problems. I know my parents did the best they could, and did not exactly grow up in healthy homes, but they did not instill much in me about how to raise happy, healthy siblings.
I believe that is what happened to our parents which is why they did such a terrible job of raising us kids to be such resentful siblings.

Quote:
I don't want to be an ostrich and "pretend" that there will never be problems, and that they will love each other 24/7 and never fight, but I do know there are families out there where siblings get along and genuinely care about each others' well-being, and who get along most of the time.
IMO, that is the benefits of loving and adequate parenting.

Quote:
Do any of you have ideas from your own childhoods, or from your own experience raising siblings? Things to do, not to do, tips for conflict resolution, etc??? I guess my biggest concerns are conflict resolution, not creating jealousy, and teaching each one to honor themselves and the other.
I'd start by making sure that the first child is comfortable with having a sibling come into the family and NOT see the newbie as a menacing invader. I'd do whatever it takes to make sure that my kids, beginning with the oldest, accept each other as beloved, welcome family members and FRIENDS. IMO, this has to come from a state of genuine happiness between the parents who will naturally model respectful and loving behavior for their kids. IMO, jealousy is the sad consequence of insecurity which has been put inside the child by inadequate and unhappy parenting and conflict resolution should never need to be dealt with if the kids are given lots of examples and training to GET ALONG. But even resolving conflicts has to come from some kind of respect and love that the parents should demonstrate for their troubled kids.

Quote:
EVER so grateful, I am starting to really worry... I don't want to unintentionally set my kids up for lifelong difficulty...
Our parents unintentionally set us up for HORRIBLE fights and hatred by simply FAILING to focus on and consistently promote love and respect in the family but I now see that our parents were NOT happy with each other so that had a dramatic impact on us kids!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Katrinka~ View Post
Have you read "Siblings Without Rivalry"? That might be a good start for you.
My kids get along really well, 95% of the time. I'm not sure why that is, though!
IMO, it's the result of adequate levels of love and respect coming from the parents.

Quote:
My two pieces of advice are, 1) whenever possible, don't get involved in their squabbles. "You guys need to work that out" is my mantra around here. It's easier to resent your sibling after a fight if you feel like you got an unfair ruling from the judge (i.e, parent).
I strongly disagree with this concept. If our negligent and indifferent parents had stepped in from the very beginning to HELP us boys turn bitter hatred into respectful friendship, many if not all of the horrifying fist fights that eventually emerged would not have happened. They ignored us and let us get worse and worse by their detached indifference which only encouraged my brother to abuse me more and more.

It was always about parenting and we were victims of extremely bad and inadequate parenting. I wish all of you success in helping your kids grow up as friends instead of as bitter, hateful ENEMIES.
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