Child Psychology: Dealing with Sibling Rivalry

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Child Psychology: Dealing with Sibling Rivalry

There are a lot of kids who grow up to be best friends with their siblings, but it’s also normal for brothers and sisters to fight all the time. Many siblings will even go back and forth, forming a love-hate relationship while they are kids. Let’s explore more the child psychology of sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry According to Child Psychology

Sibling rivalry often begins when a second child comes into the family. It may continue as the children grow older and they start competing for virtually everything – toys, food, and mom and dad’s attention. Throughout the various stages of childhood development, their needs will evolve, and this can make a huge impact on how one child relates to his brother or sister.

For parents, it can be stressful and frustrating to see their children not get along. Frequent fighting, yelling, and competing can create an unhappy household. Still, it is challenging for grownups to find out how to make the fighting stop, whether you intervene or not. According to child psychology experts, there are certain steps that parents can take toward maintaining peace and order at home.

Understanding the Cause of Rivalry

There is a whole list of things that can lead to siblings fighting. It can be sheer competition or some level of jealousy. Whether it’s a simple case of bickering or a more serious degree of harming each other, there are factors that parents should look into when finding out the root of the problem.

Child Psychology: How Developmental Stages Affect Behavior

Kids have evolving needs. Their characteristics and personalities change over time. And all of these impact how they treat each other.

Toddlers are inherently protective of their belongings (toys, snacks, books, loveys) and will naturally assert their independence as often as they could. So if a toddler has a younger sibling who so little as touches his stuff, aggressive behavior may ensue.

In the case of school-age kids, there is a better understanding of equality and fairness. So if they have younger siblings in a different developmental stage than them, seeing mom or dad treat their brother or sister differently might seem like favoritism to them.

Teenagers are starting to find their own individuality and want to practice independence all the time. As a result, they can resent being told to do things, such as chores, taking care of siblings, or participating in family activities.

The developmental stage of a child has a big influence on how he reacts toward his siblings.

Seeking Help from Experts in Child Psychology

Child psychology can be a difficult thing to understand fully, even for seasoned parents. You might have had a happy and functional life before, that is until you had another baby and sibling rivalry became all that you’re worried about. If this is the case, giving up the fight is not an option. As their role model, you and your partner should find other avenues to deal with the issues at hand.

Positive Kids Canada has a roster of trained and expert child psychology professionals who are perfectly capable of explaining sibling rivalry to you and your family. We can help you understand things the way each of your children perceives them. After careful assessment, we will guide you as we find the right solution toward a more peaceful and happy life as one whole family.

More Resources on Child Psychology and Sibling Rivalry

To learn more about sibling rivalry, check out this informational resource from the University of Michigan – Medicine board.