How do i Stop Sibling Rivalry

A healthy sibling rivalry isn’t a bad thing.

As the youngest of two boys and the parent of two sons, I can vouch for the fact that a “healthy” sibling rivlary can be a very positive influence. While my older brother and older son have come out on top more times than not (at least until us younger siblings got older), the important part was that they handled it with diginty and never belittled. They were also the first ones to offer help and always congradulated us siblings successes. Competition is not a bad thing, as long as the self esteem of the parties involved is preserved. Learning to deal with success and failure is part of life.

The problem occurs when too much is made of coming out on top…or sometimes even coming out even. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful…some good traits like determination and hardwork are developed as a result. The problem is when unrealistic expectations are fostered…like you can be successful at anything or life is fair and everyone is the same.

The brutal truth is that we are not all the same. We all have weaknesses as well as strengths. Some of us will have to work harder than others to overcome our weaknesses. We will not be successful at everything we try.

Some of the worst attitudes I have ever seen in kids are the ones that feel they deserve the same “rewards” (for lack of a better term) regardless of there efforts or results. They never learned to deal with dissapointment or failure…as much as we would like to shield our kids from that pain, it’s much better for them to experience it and learn to grow from it, it’s going to happen sooner or later.

Eastern philosophy has a saying, “It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.” Teach your kids that it’s the way you approach school, sports, your working career, etc. that matters. The results will fall as they may, but if you truely put out your best you’ll be at ease with the result. Teach them to handle success with humility and failure with dignity. Teach them not to dwell, but to learn and move on.

It’s not the sibling rivalry that is bad, it’s how they learn to deal with it.