How to deal with sibling rivalry

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  • Avoid comparing one child with another.
  • Watch out for favouritism.
  • Give each child individual time.
  • Encourage separate experience for your children with regard to friends, activities etc.
  • If one child requires more of your time and attention, compensate for this with your other children.
  • Act quickly if you see a pattern of conflict developing between two of your children.
  • Try to ignore bickering, squabbles or disagreements. Let your children learn to work these out themselves. If you need to intervene then:
  • Discipline both children rather than only one of them – it takes two to fight.
  • Never ask, “who started?” – both are responsible.
  • Never expect an older child to act in a more mature fashion than a younger child during conflict. Do not goad the older child by suggesting he / she should be able to act in a more mature manner.
  • You may need to separate the two children using the ‘time out’ principle. It may also be useful to offer a reward that must be earned by both children. If one complains about the other, neither gets the reward. You may also have to act as a referee.Repeated patterns of hostility, aggression, teasing and anger must be treated seriously.
  • Children must be protected from all forms of physical and psychological abuse by one another.
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