The bond between siblings is a special one. They are each other’s first friends; this friendship may keep them juggling between being best buds or wanting to rip each other apart. Nonetheless, it’s an irreplaceable bond and an essential one.

Older ones playfully bullying the youngest and younger ones snitching on the older has been one of the innate instincts of siblings; it’s how they bond.

But sometimes, this bond can get toxic or abusive. Two siblings sharing the same parents and living under the same roof can be poles apart in nature, appearance, and conduct. Conflict among siblings is inevitable, but it shouldn’t go as far as mistreatment.

What Role Do Parents Play?

Often parents dismiss their child’s concerns and complaints against their siblings, thinking they’re just kids; they’ll get over it. Feeling disrespected by your sibling and then neglected by the parent can result in a child developing negative tendencies toward their siblings.

Thus, parents need to build ground rules and intervene when needed. However, parents must maintain a delicate balance between concern and overprotectiveness, as over-intrusion can also lead to conflict between siblings.

Another major reason behind sibling rivalry is feeling underappreciated and inferior due to comparison by parents.

Simply put, creating a safe environment for a child is a parent’s responsibility, and to ensure a healthy household, courteous communication between children is a must. The first step towards respectful communication is managing conflicts without being inconsiderate towards any children.

How to Manage Conflicts?

Here are some ways parents can manage conflicts among their children:

  • Decide if you should intervene or if your children can sort the matter themselves.
  • If tempers are high and children struggle with logical thinking, calm yourself and intervene while being unbiased.
  • Empathize with both parties before passing judgment. Describe how it looks from a 3rd person’s perspective.
  • Let them share their views on the issue and help them express and understand their feelings. Offer validation where necessary.
  • Reinforce ground rules like “no hitting, no cursing,” etc.
  • Give them time to process their emotions and offer a solution. Also, ask for their opinion and what they want.

But is this practical? Can you be patient while your kids are throwing tantrums? It’s possible, but only through practice. With children, you get multiple opportunities to coach them on regulating their feelings and resolving conflicts without being unkind and abusive to each other.

Teach them they are a team, and team players may get into conflicts, but they’re on the same side. Instilling this value – to be kind at all costs and not let conflicts make you treat others harshly is essential in raising kind and courteous individuals. This will help them regulate their emotions and maintain healthy relationships with family and friends.

Siblings are individuals’ lifelong mates and play a significant role in their future families. Thus, parents and caregivers should encourage siblings to communicate with each other without getting mean or defensive and foster a positive environment with healthy conflicts.

The Adventures of Carly and Charly, a book series written by twin rescue cats, portrays the beautiful bond between siblings. Join them on their adventures as they explore different activities such as soccer, skateboarding, baking, painting and a lot more!