In a relationship between siblings, it is almost inevitable that conflict will arise and this may prove frustrating and stressful for parents.

Sibling rivalry usually happens when children are competing for parental attention or when they feel they are being treated unfairly.

To help reduce such feelings in their children, parents can try to avoid making comparisons, acknowledging their unique skills and dedicating time to each, individually.  Additionally, parents can replace competition with teamwork by complimenting or rewarding collaboration.  Providing children with their own belongings also reduces rivalry.

When rivalry does occur, however, it is important to not always get involved in conflicts, giving children the opportunity to learn to resolve them.  In the risk of harm, however, it is important to intervene.  In this case, separating them and allowing their anger to subside is important.  Then, questions can be asked, allowing them to express their emotions.  If any disciplining should occur, it is best to be done privately to avoid embarrassment and further conflict. However, finding out who caused the conflict should not be of primary concern.

No matter how frustrating, sibling rivalry, when in moderate amounts, is a good indicator that children are learning to assert their needs.


– Alessia Camilleri