As parents, it’s important to know that if you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is always almost inevitable. It’s normal for families to have problems because no family is perfect. The best thing to do when your children are fighting is to stay calm and neutral, minimize your yelling, avoid favoritism, encourage communication and understand and allow children to deal with their conflicts alone at times. Even though it can’t be prevented, it’s crucial to consider the key factors that can contribute to sibling rivalry.
Here are some of the key factors!
1. Parenting styles
Many parents underestimate the influence their parenting styles may have on their children. Children learn from what they see in their environment. If you, as a parent, have a more authoritarian style, your children are more likely to model your rigid and strict temperaments, which can result in more chaos, whereas an authoritative parent might have children with less aggressive behaviors. Parenting style also affects how your children might handle conflict due to the extent of how restricted they feel to express their feelings and emotions.
2. Birth order
As a parent, you may not think the birth order of your children might affect their behavior, but it does! Your first born is typically the more mature one, because they feel the pressure of responsibility for their younger siblings. Naturally, most first born children have also dealt with the most discipline. Your younger child is often more spoiled and babied than the others. They usually get their way and don’t feel as much familial pressure as their older siblings do because they don’t have as many responsibilities. Your first child was in a way your first shot at parenting, so after learning from experience, you will often change certain aspects for your next child.
The more years apart there are between your children, the more likely they are to have differences. For example, let’s say you have a preschooler and a child that just started first grade; they’re likely to butt heads because both are in two different developmental stages of their lives. Keep in mind that your preschooler is fresh out of the terrible twos stage, which is a period of tantrums, oppositions, and mood swings, while your first grader might be starting to develop a sense of maturity and wanting to follow certain rules.
Children with siblings of a different gender are more likely to fight than those who have the same. Girls tend to be calmer and more sensitive, while boys are more aggressive and rowdier. Girls also often feel that their boy siblings have more freedom and flexibility than they do, which may cause them to act out.
Most parents unconsciously treat each gender differently, due to preconceived notions before each child was born. For example, as a parent, you might have wanted to have a girl or boy as your first child but ended up with the opposite. It’s normal for your parenting experience to turn out differently from what you expected because you already had specific things in mind.
At Parker-Chase Preschool, we encourage harmony in all our students of different ages and genders. We believe that teaching your preschool child how to effectively communicate with their peers teaches them how to maintain better relationships outside of the classroom environment. Children are encouraged to socialize with each other and form lasting friendships with their peers.