Sometimes people ask me if my children get on with each other. Have I ever had to deal with sibling rivalry?
I think back through the years, and it wouldn’t be true to say my kids have never argued with each other. I don’t remember any incidents of physical fighting, but there must have been times when they fought with their words. But that seems a long time ago. Today, they have no trouble living peacefully with each other. My children don’t compete with each other for my attention. They all feel loved and valued. Everyone has her unique place in the family.
Or perhaps that’s just my opinion. Do I see things how I’d like them to be and not as they really are?
I thought it would be interesting to ask my 14-year-old daughter Sophie about her relationship with her siblings. What does she think? Does she get on well with her siblings?
So one evening, as we were walking our dog through the bush, I suddenly said, “Hey, Sophie, how about I interview you about sibling rivalry?”
We found a rock where Sophie could sit. I tied the dog to a tree to keep her out of our way. Then I turned on my camera and began recording. Later, I made that conversation into a video. It’s called Sibling Rivalry: an Unschooling Interview.
After talking to Sophie, I started pondering sibling rivalry. How can we encourage good relationships between our kids? I’m not sure I know the answer, but I decided to make a list of possible ideas.
- Fulfil each child’s needs. Each child may have different needs.
- Love unconditionally. Kids need to feel loved at all times and not fear that love will be withdrawn.
- Help kids to resolve disputes. Take each child’s concerns seriously.
- Foster relationships between kids. Find ways in which they can share talents and work together. Or help each other. But don’t force them.
- Give lots of time to each child. Arrange one-on-one times. Listen.
- Don’t compare children. Each child is unique and special. Each child brings something special and valuable to the family.
- Appreciate differences between children. Encourage siblings to appreciate these differences too.
- Don’t have favourites. Or make every child your favourite.
- Encourage kids to be happy for each other. Everyone can take pleasure in each other’s achievements. Celebrate each child’s achievements regardless of what they are.
- Encourage kids to make allowances for each other. Kids do have off days just like parents and they sometimes need extra help and consideration.
- How we treat kids will affect how they treat each other. Be a good example.
What do you think? Am I on the right track? What would you add or take away from my list?
It seems to me, that sibling rivalry is more likely to happen if a child feels she has to fight for her parents’ love and attention. Does Sophie agree? I hope you’ll watch her video to find out. (It’s a very lively conversation!)
After I made this video, I wondered if Sophie’s siblings would agree with her opinions. I decided to interview my daughter Imogen as well. I asked her similar questions to those I asked her younger sister. Were Imogen’s answers the same as Sophie’s? I’ll post her video next time so you can find out!