Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

 Linda Wechter-Ashkin Ph.D NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD CCSP

 I have been blessed with 2 children. They are 4 years apart and different genders and very different personalities, so it took some time for them to really get as close as they are today. Alex wanted to be like his big sister when he was young, so he learned to play with dolls, push baby carriages, and put on nail polish. He followed her around and wanted to spend all of his time with her. Rikki had a friend Erin that taught him to climb trees and to have no fear. She had a friend Adam who was very timid, and I have to admit one of the highlights of their childhood is when Adam’s dad came to our house to confront the bully and I brought him Alex who was 2 at the time. We still laugh about his dad’s response which was to pat his head, smile, and smack Adam in his head on the way back to the car. When Alex was in second grade and Rikki was in sixth, I taught at a school where we could all be together. Alex ignored Rikki in the halls but all of his friends loved her, so they often played after school. In high school they kind of went their own ways and Rikki often was quite the bossy pants. For the most part Alex ignored her but one night he lost his mind and she wound up calling us from the bathroom asking us to come home from our trip. We didn’t, she lived, and they had a turning point. From that day forward they grew closer and closer together and before Alex moved to Naples they spent most weekends together. I know that move hurt her heart even though she is so proud of him. There is no question in my mind that Alex would lay down his life for Rikki and that she would do the same for him.

I love both of my children, but they are very different. They think different, they behave different and so of course they argued. Siblings are meant in ways to rival. As long as no one is violent let them work it out. They learn to effectively solve conflict that way.  Siblings are going to be different. You can’t parent all children the same. Don’t compare them especially in front of them. Siblings are going to compete. Let them. Don’t take away from the success of one for the feelings of the other. Just find the other child’s strengths and praise that. I have heard parents say I don’t like to applaud Sally’s successes because it might make Tommy feel bad because he’s not a good student. Shame on you. Applaud Sally and have Tommy do so too. And then applaud Tommy for what he does well and have Sally do so too.

2 thoughts on “Sibling Rivalry”

  1. Very good read! It sounds very much like what I’m going through with my own siblings!
    I was always the family dog when my sister and her friends wanted to play house! Lol And I was a good dog lol! Thank you for this read 😊
    Dan Sloane

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