Sibling rivalry is common in many families. It’s cause can stem from wanting attention to bullying amongst the children. However it should not be ignored as it fuels a constant distressful atmosphere in one’s family and often estrangement of the siblings when they leave home. Too often parents simply become “peace-keepers” by just separating the children during the tension. Regrettably this does not resolve the issues, but simply stores them for future conflict. Rather than just separating the children, it would be much wiser for the parent to attempt to become a “peace-maker”. This is done by insisting that the “rivals” apologize to each other for the conflict and with the parent’s help attempt to verbally resolve the differences. Leaving issues unresolved often will cause the emotional separation between siblings to grow bigger, eliminating any desire to seek reconciliation. This toxic situation can be neutralized by the parents insisting the rivals talk it through and importantly, followed by their individual declaration for a desire to be one another’s friend. Parents who make the effort to be “peace-makers” will end up with a rewarding unified family … truly heaven on earth.
I was talking to a father of a teenage daughter (13) and a teenage son (15) who was having trouble with parenting his daughter. He was finding it difficult reasoning with her, while communication with his son was easy and enjoyable. The tension with his daughter was bringing pain to the parenting relationship and it was also upsetting his wife.
It was apparent that dad had accommodated his son’s change into adolescence because he remembers that he also was once a teenage boy. However he wasn’t ready to change gears for his daughter, as he wanted to protect her by keeping her as a young girl. Understandably she was not responding to being treated as a child, rather than as a maturing adolescent. Tension was the ensuing result of their encounters and both were withdrawing emotionally, much to dad’s heartache.
Parents need to change gears in the manner in which they communicate with their pre-teens & teens when hormones hit. They must transition from being the “benevolent dictator/parent” to becoming their teen’s wise advisor & eventually their trusted friend – not their “policeman” who simply wants to over-protect.
Parents are to do the right thing when their child does the wrong thing. We were all children once therefore we know it is the child’s “job description” to be naughty. So it behoves parents to prepare themselves for this expected behaviour. Parenting skills don’t come naturally, like love for your child does. These skills have to be observed and learnt.
To help prepare yourself for the amazing joy of being a parent, there is copious parenting material in print and on-line that is readily available. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from family and friends that have children behaving like you would like to see your children behave. People like to share parenting hints, as parents love talking about their children, especially if they are being complimented for their good and proper behaviour.