Sibling rivalry can simply be defined as the feeling of competition between the two siblings. This can occur due to many factors like parental behavior towards each child, birth order, and age between the two or more siblings.
This majorly occurs when the second child comes into being or when the second child is born. As soon as the second child is born, he/she needs attention and care. Both the parents their love, fulfill his basic needs, cuddle him, kiss him, mother feeding her clutching her close to her body, giving her warmth while he has fever. Relatives do the same. Now does anyone wonder what would the first child be thinking when he would be seeing all this? He watches his parents clutch the baby to their body, they respond whenever the baby coos or coughs. And whenever he wants to say something parents do not respond the same way as they use to. He thinks that my parents love him more and has forgotten about me. Why does he need so much attention and why am I not getting that same love? Why did my parents get this baby? I hate him!! My parents don’t love me anymore, they are always loving him!! They don’t spend time with me anymore!!
The baby undoubtedly needs more attention, even if it takes a toll on your head, parents still give time to the younger one, and the time that has been kept for the elder one, goes away in resting and regaining all the energy. The kids are close to their mother, and when they see mother pouring out their love to the younger one, the elder starts developing hatred towards the younger one. He would unintentionally hit the baby, or would push him down the bed or would put all the blames to the younger one for his mistakes. I remember my mother telling me about the same as to how my brother use to slap me whenever my mom wasn’t around and then when I would cry he would go running to mom telling her that I was crying.
The elder one starts feeling alone and he is then on his own. And the younger kid needs his share of attention for good 2-3 years, meanwhile the connection with the elder kid fades away.
As parents we are always looking for improving our kids, one of the unconscious method which comes in naturally, is to keep telling them what is to be improved. With more than one kids what again comes naturally is to tell one about what the other is doing better. The intention is not to make the kid feel bad or undermine him/her, but to motivate the child to perform better.
This comparison between siblings unconsciously comes not only from parents but also from relatives, teachers etc. We compare how they stand, walk, talk, what time do they get up, how do they study, the marks they get, their eating habits, their looks their behavior.. it’s a never ending list.
Couple this with the aspect of feeling that the time, love and attention which was 100% of the first child’s right is now being shared with another one. (not just shared – virtually taken away by the younger one)
The extent of rivalry reaches a level when the relationship between siblings reaches a level where we don’t have a great relationship with them till now!
So, what we see here is a trap – which virtually everyone falls into. We went through this ourselves with our own siblings and we so much want that and after going through the article one may feel what’s the way out!
Rule 1: Every child is born with unlimited potential and everyone is different. How one sees, listens, learns, interprets is different.
NO comparison – is the rule of the house! No one compares anyone!
Rule 2: Prepare the child well in advance, before the new born. On how the needs of the new born would be, how it would be impacting the entire program, talking to them about the lack of time and attention which would be coming their way.
Rule 3: The new child is the collective responsibility of the entire family. Involve the elder child in bringing up the child. Having him/her support you in getting the child ready, feeding, cleaning, playing, baby sitting. Make the elder one a partner in raising the younger.
Now how do we manage the damage which is already done! Is there no way out?
The way out is to share with the elder one that the
1. The time and attention being taken away was a natural phenomenon – and the elder one too got the same when he/she was at the same stage
2. Apologize for the comparisons made
3. and set a never bending rule of – ‘NO COMPARISONS’