Real Advice For Real Life

Parenting Expert Advice from Author and America’s Nanny,

Michelle LaRowe

Sibling Rivalry: When Your Kids Don’t Get Along

sibling sister and brothers“Mommy he hit me!”

“But she started it!”

The sound of squabbling in stereo is enough to make you pull out your hair.If there are siblings, there is sibling rivalry. It’s a family fact of life. Throw twins or triplets into the mix the intensity significantly increases.

Simply stated, sibling rivalry is the competition between siblings to be the favorite child. It’s a battle for the love, attention and affection of one or both parents. It’s a competition to be the chosen child – the one who is loved most by the ones who they want to share least. Sibling rivalry has existed as long as families have. Even the Bible shared accounts of Jacob and Esau’s twin troubles. So rather than taking on the impossible task of making your home a rivalry free zone, follow these Do’s and Don’ts of managing sibling rivalry

.Do: Remember your kids are individuals. Although they may share some similarities, their personalities and temperaments are wonderfully unique.

Do: Allow for differences. Encourage the differences that you see in your kids. Foster their distinctive interests and let them know they are loved for who they are.

Do. Let them say “It’s mine.” Allowing them to have things and friends of their own helps them to understand how to exist outside of the twin unit. Everyone needs something that they don’t have to share.

Do encourage alone time. Facilitate short periods apart for times of self discovery.

Do: Spend one on one time with each kid. Be proactive in spending alone time with each child. Bath time and reading are great short meaningful activities that promote one on one time.

Do: Let siblings work it out. Allowing your kids to work out their issues alone will prevent you from taking sides or placing blame when you haven’t got all the details. If an argument escalates into physical violence, separate then investigate when things have cooled down.

Do: Have realistic expectations. Siblings don’t get along all the time. Don’t force your kids to play together if they need time apart – we all do!

Do: Give positive purposeful praise. Point out the strengths in each child and take note when they are interacting well together

.Do: Have ground rules for behavior. Have a clear set of rules and expectations for how to treat each other. No hitting, No biting, No teasing and No name calling should lie at the foundation of your twins relationship rules. Outlining acceptable and unacceptable behaviors will promote consistency in discipline.

Do: Spend time together as a family. Spending time together as a family stresses the importance of unity and helps advance a team spirit.

Do: Develop a system for most wanted privileges. Having a plan of action in place when it comes to who gets to push the elevator button or who gets to sit on what side of the car will head off heated on the spot battles. Keep a coin in the car, or keep track of who did what last to settle the most coveted privilege disputes.

Do: Let your kids express their feelings. Encourage your children to communicate their feelings. Helping your kids to find the words to express their emotions gives them a sense of control. Be sure to validate feelings without validating negative behavior. “I know you are frustrated, but hands aren’t for hitting” empowers the child without condoning the behavior.

Do: Model good behavior. You reap what you sew when it comes to childhood behaviors. Model positive interactions with your spouse and your kids and you’ll be surprised at how quick it gets mirrored back.

Do: Be fair. Hold your kids accountable for the same rules and regulations and hold true to the same consequences.

Don’t: Compare your kids. Recognize that how you compare your kids sets the stage for how they will compare each other. These seemingly innocent comparisons are at the root of sibling rivalry.

Don’t: Use competition to motivate. Recognize the heightened sense of natural competition that already exists amongst siblings and don’t add to it. Have them race against a timer rather than each other when picking up toys.

Don’t: Try to do everything equal. If you treat your kids different it’s okay! They are different. Meeting each child’s unique needs is what is important. Just because Sean wore his shoes out and got a new pair doesn’t mean Jane has to if hers are perfectly fine.

Don’t: Care who started it. It takes two to quarrel. Hold your kids accountable for their actions.

Don’t: Label. Be careful not to mold your kids with your words. Labels can last a lifetime and your kids will either live up or live down to your expectations.

Don’t: Take Sides. Be an impartial mediator and resist the urge to figure out who did what – it’s nearly impossible to figure out the blow by blow when you just catch the end of the match.

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Michelle La Rowe

About America's Nanny:

Michelle is an active member of the nanny community. She is the founder and president of Boston Area Nannies, Inc., a local non-profit educational organization and has served on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors.

She is called on by the media as a nanny and parenting expert and has been affectionately dubbed America's Nanny. Michelle has appeared on television and has been featured in print.

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America's Nanny

Books by Michelle LaRowe

A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity - Grocery lists. Checklists. To-do lists. Lots of people love--and live by--lists. And parents are no exception. Today's families are busier than ever, and moms don't have the time or energy to search and scramble for the parenting information they are desperately seeking. This handy, practical reference guide will save time, money, and sanity for today's busy women.

Working Mom's 411 is your one-stop resource guide for navigating through the often choppy waters of managing kids, career and home.

Nanny to the Rescue - America's nanny offers a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced babies and toddlers.

Nanny To the Rescue Again - Faced with multiple choices regarding school, friends, and activities coupled with the ever-widening influence of the outside world, parents of 6-12-year-olds need help. America's nanny is back to offer a large dose of healthy parenting advice with secrets for raising happy, secure, and well-balanced children.
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Michelle La Rowe La RoweAmerican NannyReal Advice For Real Life Parenting Expert Advice from Author and America's Nanny, Michelle LaRowe Sibling Rivalry: When Your Kids Don't Get Along 'Mommy he hit me!' 'But she started it!' The sound of squabbling in stereo is enough to make you pull out your hair.If there are siblings, there is sibling rivalry. It's a...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids