It can be tough for a toddler to welcome a new baby into his/her domain. Their aim is to get at the brother or sister who is breaking their toys, spoiling their games, or stealing their parents’ attention. It is completely normal for this to happen.
Siblings influence each other in ways that parents cannot. It is normally seen that, children who fight the most in the early years are often the closest as they grow older. Competitiveness between siblings is a good preparation for when they enter the wider world. A toddler will not understand his/her feelings of jealousy or about the newborn. He/she just wants his parents’ attention and may react by misbehaving or even regressing. Parents should take comfort from the fact that sibling rivalry is teaching the toddler valuable and lasting lessons.
Here are a few things that parents can follow to avoid sibling rivalry:
- Conflict between siblings is normal and rivalry comes not from their feelings about each other, but from their need to be loved by their parents.
- Parents should use rules and routines for the children to follow and try to avoid situations that breed rivalry.
- Parents should back off and let the children work it out. Allowing children to drag the parents into each and every dispute is unhealthy for their relationship and frustrating for the parents.
- Parents must encourage positive communication and make suggestions. The children can decide what to do.
- Parents should not compare their children. Appreciating children for who they are is important for the parents to avoid rivalry.
- Being fair does not necessarily mean equal. Parents should focus on each child’s individual needs.
- Parents must encourage sibling love. Parents should try to stir up feelings of giving and caring that build love between the children.
Parents must be impartial, which can be extremely difficult. It is inevitable that parents will feel differently about children who have different personalities with differing needs, dispositions and place in the family. Parental attitude is the most important factor to avoid sibling rivalry.