As siblings grow and learn together, they are bound to have conflict. And while arguments between siblings are common, a new study on the long-term effects of negative interactions between siblings has garnered surprising results. Researchers found that sibling rivalry can be filled with psychological and physical aggression. This can lead to higher instances of anger, depression and anxiety later in life.
There are a lot of factors involved in sibling rivalry. The oldest child may feel burdened with responsibilities for the younger children. The youngest child may feel left out of the older children’s lives. Children of all ages may be opposed to sharing toys, bedrooms, televisions and parents’ affection. And while no parent can prevent conflict between their children entirely, there are some steps you can take to minimize the sibling rivalry:
1. Never compare your children. This will fuel their rivalry and make them feel inadequate.
2. Take your children’s unique personalities and quirks into consideration. If your oldest daughter is a huge grump in the morning, suggest that the family give her some space. If your youngest son is sensitive about something, make the topic off-limits for teasing.
3. Do not be their judge and jury. When a parent decides who is right and who is wrong, one child feels like the “winner.” Step in when necessary, but encourage them to work together to resolve their issues.