How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

Imagine having a toddler and a newborn, both crying at the exact same time. One wants to be held, the other wants you to send the baby back to the hospital. You’re by yourself and at that moment there is absolutely no way to make both children happy. This was me 3 years ago. My oldest was almost three when I brought her sister home from the hospital and the sibling rivalry started instantly. It took a while for them to get used to each other. Things have gotten better now that the girls are a little older, but man was it tough! As I do with everything, I learned how to deal with sibling rivalry through trial and A LOT of error. I had to take a step back, listen to both of my children, and make the necessary adjustments.

How to deal with sibling rivalry

Spend one on one time with each child. I’ll be the first to admit that my first year as a mother of two was the hardest for me. Because I had a newborn, I felt like she needed me more than my toddler did. I unintentionally neglected to give my toddler the attention she needed which caused her to act out more than usual.  Spending one on one time lets each child know that you love them just as much, and it lets them know that they are equally important.

Let the oldest help with the youngest.  Grabbing a diaper, feeding the baby, and assisting with story time are three small tasks that could make a big difference. Allowing your oldest child to be hands on with the youngest child early on helps them form a bond. It also teaches your children to always take care of each other which could come in handy when they’re older.

Don’t force the oldest to help with the youngest. Letting them help is one thing, but forcing them to help is another.  Children are not live in baby sitters. It is not their responsibility to take care of any other children you may decide to have. Forcing one child to help with the other is asking for trouble. That child will most likely resent you and it’s sibling.

Stay out of arguments, always remain neutral. Siblings argue a lot, often times about nothing. Choosing one side over the other can turn a small problem to an even bigger one. Children care a lot about what their parents think. You don’t want one child to feel like you favor the other. Let your children know that you love them, but they’re going to have to figure it out on their own.  For smaller children, I recommend teaching them how to take turns expressing what’s bothering them and have them hug it out.

Don’t compare your children to each other. Every child is different. Just because one child did something a certain way doesn’t mean the other child should do the same. Comparing your children, especially in front of each other can cause self-esteem issues. It can also cause one child to feel inferior to the other.

Being a parent of multiples can be challenging, yet rewarding. Teaching our kids how to love and protect each other is one of the most important lessons we can teach. Yes, there will be days when they don’t like each other. A little sibling rivalry every now and then is normal. We just have to do our jobs as parents to make sure it does not get out of hand.

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41 Comments

  1. November 27, 2017 / 4:47 am

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

    • Chantal
      Author
      November 27, 2017 / 8:02 pm

      Thank you so much! I did originally pay for the theme, but I modified it myself to make it look the way I wanted.

  2. September 28, 2017 / 5:40 pm

    Hello! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the terrific info you have here on this post. I might be coming back to your blog for a lot more soon.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 28, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Thank you so much for reading!

  3. September 28, 2017 / 7:14 am

    I’m always amazed at how good parents get at dealing with two little ones…being able to make them both feel equally loved is truly a masterful skill.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 28, 2017 / 11:33 am

      It definitely takes practice lol. Thank you for reading.

  4. September 26, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    These are great tips. I have three boys and I’ve been part SAHM when I worked part time and also a full time SAHM after my third was born. There is definite jealousy that goes on. I love your tip about allowing them to help, but not forcing it. These are great tips for moms bringing home a 2n or 3rd (or more) baby.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 28, 2017 / 11:32 am

      Thank you for reading 🙂

  5. September 26, 2017 / 10:10 am

    Love this! My first two are 18 months apart and then baby sister came 21 months after that – so when she was born I had three kids 3 years, 4 months and under – and LORDY we’ve had some rivalry! But it’s great letting them learn how to manage their own conflict through teaching conflict resolution. But it takes a LOT of time and energy, haha! But now the older two are 2 and 4 and they’re pretty good!

  6. September 26, 2017 / 1:43 am

    I have three girls. A new teen, a tween and a 9-year-old. They are exactly 2 years apart, and omg, they argue all the time. Hubby and I didn’t understand their issues. lol Like, really kids? We are both only children, so all the bickering was insane. I do find that when we do one on one outings, there’s peace in the valley. lol Hubby even does one on one dates with them, they seem to love that time more than with me. Yes, daddy girls.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:10 am

      Yes for the father daughter dates lol. I think it’s just a sibling thing. I grew up with an older sister and I couldn’t stand her until we got older. It’ll get better *fingers crossed*. Thank you for reading!

  7. September 25, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    It looks like our girls are about the same age gap apart as your girls are. Right now our oldest is 3.5 and our youngest is about to turn 1. I can see the sibling ribaldry already beginning to sneak up. I really like your point about staying neutral. I can sometimes see myself taking the little ones side because she is younger and the older should know better. But it is so true that we always need to stay neutral.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:09 am

      I did that for a while. I had to remind myself that they’re both children. That and my little one started to pick up on it and would purposely get her sister in trouble lol. Thank you for reading.

  8. September 25, 2017 / 4:03 pm

    I chuckled at your first two sentences, and I don’t know if that is an “appropriate” response nor the one you were expecting from your readers. But, it sounded all too familiar. My parents like to tell a similar story of how 3-year-old me asked them if we could take my baby sister back where she came from. My sister and I didn’t get along much growing up, but now we are the best of friends. So, at least in our story, the sibling rivalry has turned into an unbreakable bond of sisterhood.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:08 am

      Lol I was hoping someone could relate to the struggle. Thank you so much for reading.

  9. The Unfiltered Momma
    September 25, 2017 / 3:10 pm

    Glad I don’t have to worry about this quite yet. It will be useful later on though

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:05 am

      Yes!Thanks for reading.

  10. September 25, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    Yes to #2! That one is a live saver.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:05 am

      Parenting hacks! lol Thank you for reading.

  11. September 25, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    My children need to read this Lol.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:04 am

      Lol!! I’m guessing the rivalry is real.

  12. Sarah
    September 25, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    Really good tips!

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:04 am

      Thank you!

  13. September 25, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    This was literally me 5 months ago. Same age any everything. I try so hard to spend 1:1 time with my tot because I spend so much time with her sister. Glad to know it’s not just me!

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:03 am

      Not at all. Thank you for reading!

  14. September 25, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Love this post!! I have two boys who are 20 months apart. They are the best of friends BUT hello, they’re brothers and they bug each other like crazy.

    I love the part about spending time one-on- one with each. It’s much needed for all of us ?

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 26, 2017 / 9:03 am

      My girls are the best of friends now, but mannnn was it a struggle lol. Thank you for reading.

  15. LaToya
    September 25, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Great tips ❤️

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 25, 2017 / 9:41 am

      Thank you!

  16. Eryka
    September 25, 2017 / 9:18 am

    Wow these are amazing tips, I need to share them with my sister.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 25, 2017 / 9:41 am

      Thank you for reading! Please do 🙂

  17. Caroline @ Love Cake Create
    September 25, 2017 / 9:16 am

    A really great read! My toddler was three when his little brother was born. He adjusted really well and they’re 5yrs and 2yrs now – they love each other to bits but bicker all the time!

  18. September 25, 2017 / 9:05 am

    Currently I just have my son so I cant relate to it from a mother stand point, but I can relate to it from my siblings growing up. Now we are all closer than ever. Great tips!

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 24, 2017 / 10:19 pm

      Thank you for reading.

  19. September 24, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    The struggle is real! My girls are 2 years apart and I still see how jealous or angry they get when they want my attention or want their own toys. It’s hard tofu d your own time with them, but it’s gotten easier as they get older (now 3.5 and 1.5 years old)

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 24, 2017 / 10:17 pm

      It’s definitely hard especially when they’re younger, but you got it mama! Thank you so much for reading.

  20. September 23, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    you are a brave mother and i’m a uni student but i got say that its really hard to balance when you have toddler and newborn, my mom struggling with it.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 23, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Aww thank you! Thanks for reading.

  21. Brittany
    September 22, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    This is great! I love the part about staying out of the arguments. I have 3 barely under the age of 4 and man so my oldest two go at it. I’m so quick to chime in “be kind” or “speak in love” but I will remember to let them try to work it out together. Wonderful post.

    • Chantal
      Author
      September 22, 2017 / 10:38 pm

      Thank you so much for reading.

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