Awesome Parents Blogs

Posts Tagged ‘Kym Rogers’

THE UNHAPPY HOUSE OF HORRORS: Managing Sibling Rivalry Sunday, January 31st, 2010

If you think about it, sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel. Sibling rivalry is also what a lot of childhood fairytales are based. Think of Cinderella and her stepsisters. If the mere word, “sibling” comes up, it is almost certain that rivalry follows. Now that your happy home has become the unhappy house of horrors because your children are at odds constantly with one another, we need to first examine the causes for sibling rivalry.

To examine sibling rivalry is to look at it from the point of view of your child. If you consider it for a moment, your children do not choose the family they were born into, nor do they choose each other. They may be a different sex, different age and temperament, and most of all they have to share their parents whom they want most for themselves. In addition, you may have to consider the position in the family the children hold. The oldest child, for example, may feel burdened with the responsibilities of the younger children. The younger child may feel that he has to try to catch up with an older sibling. Another culprit to the rivalry may be the difference in the sex of the children. If the father shows gentleness to the daughter, the son may hate his sister for this reason. Or, the daughter may wish that she could along on a hunting trip with her father and brother. The difference in the age of the children may also contribute to the contention. At age five and eight, the children may play some games and activities together. However, when these children become ten and thirteen, they will most likely be worlds apart.*

Now, that we have looked at sibling rivalry from the point of view of the child and have a better understanding what the source of it is, how do we manage it? The most important factor is managing sibling rivalry is parental attitude. Your children are like sponges, and they will absorb the atmosphere of the environment of the family home. If you are setting the example as caring and loving parents, they will emulate this behavior. However, if you respond to your spouse by yelling or shouting as a means to resolve differences, they will emulate this behavior as well. Parents have been instructed to be an impartial judge, and this serves to be very difficult. It is inevitable that parents will feel differently about their children who have different needs, personalities, and place in the family. Keep in mind that fairness has nothing to do with the needs of your children. An example of that is how often we hear the argument from one child as to why they cannot stay up to a certain time when their older sibling can. It is not an issue of fairness. It is an issue of what is best for health and wellbeing of the individual child.

Often parents feel that they must treat their children equally. However, in reality that may only come back to haunt us later. If a mother feels that she must hug all of children and not just one, it then becomes dehumanizing. Hugs become meaningless in the family, which it clearly not the intent of what a mother would want. So now that we have decided that sibling rivalry is the norm, we need to determine what we can do to better manage it so that our house of horrors can perhaps return to a happy and safe place. To manage the rivalry, consider not making comparisons to their other siblings. Each child feels that they are unique, and he resents being compared to another sibling. Do not encourage your child to dismiss or suppress their resentment or angry feelings but have them express their feelings and wants calmly. Help them see the other’s point of view. Avoid situations of guilt. Help your child to understand that feelings and actions
are not synonymous. For example, it may be normal to feel as though one child wants to hit the baby. The parents have to stop the child from carrying out this action. The guilt of that follows doing something mean is a lot worse than the guilt of just feeling mean.* Parental intervention must be quick and decisive. Finally, let siblings resolve their own differences when possible. You will have to determine when you may have to intervene. Keeping in mind, there has been a lifetime of grudges held between siblings when they felt their minority rights were not protected. Above all else, keep your sense of humor.




In an ever-changing, complex world, our beautiful little children seem to undergo some sort of metamorphosis that transform them into a creature that we no longer recognize as our child. It seems as though the monsters that our child was so scared of at night materialized from under their beds and ate the child we once knew. This monster left us with a being that poses some very difficult and real challenges for we, as parents, and the family. How do we manage this conflict?

Perhaps the best way to manage a conflict to understand what is happening from your teen’s point of view. Teens are trying to deal with the hormonal changes that seem to have them bouncing off the ceiling and walls, and it is happening at light speed. They feel a sudden sense of isolation, feeling that the world does not understand their feelings. As a parent, we are on the top of the list of not understanding them. As a teen, they feel angry, alone, and confused. All of this, and they are facing complicated issues about their identity, peers, sexual behavior, drinking and drugs. In turn, we feel much the same way. We suddenly feel frustrated because what worked as parenting skills just yesterday no longer not works today. Our choices of discipline have no impact on them, and now we feel frightened and helpless about their life’s choices.

As such, a conflict is brewing and is just waiting to happen. Given any of typical areas of concern, and we have will a conflict with our teenager. We may argue over curfews, choice of our child’s friends, spending too much time with their friends when we want them to be with the family more, their school grades, driving privileges, dating and sexuality, clothing, hair, makeup, and a list of self-destructive behaviors. I believe you know the routine. However, what a lot of conflict boils down to is perhaps their lack of self-esteem. It is a difficult task to get them to feel good about themselves and promote a healthy self-image. Let’s face it, they are surrounded by images of perfection, and unfortunately, they do not realize that this kind of beauty does not happen over night or exist in a real world. Often the people we see in Hollywood or on the cover of magazines, spend all day at the gym with their trainers, or have had cosmetic surgery to alter themself, or have had the photos touched. Makeup experts and the right lights can perform miracles for the camera. So for us, the parent, we need to take steps to help them foster a positive, healthy self-image.

So how do we do that? Trust me, they listen, and are listening, whether they show it or not. They listen to our opinions. If we make a remark about their weight or intelligence, just remember they heard us loud and clear. For example, if your teen has a weight issue, there is a strong likelihood that they know and are very much aware of the issue even more so than you. It sticks with them. A better alternative than to comment on their weight would be to suggest or ask them if they would like to go with you on a daily run or to the gym. When they see the weight drop, we will see a change for the good in their self-esteem and in their moods.

By suggesting to our teen that they accompany us to the gym, our child learns from us. We want instill a positive lesson in them. So the lesson here is to watch what we do. If we practice healthy eating habits and gym habits, so will they. However, if we are the the kind of person who obsesses over our weight, then our child will learn the same behavior pattern. For better or for worse, they will emulate us.

Above all else, remember to compliment our teenager on their good attributes. If we learn to emphasize their positive attributes on a regular basis, who knows, they may just start believing in themselves. After all, teenagers are not really that much different than us. As human beings, we tend to flourish when we are praised for our positives.


  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Tags