Sibling rivalry is considered a healthy sign that children are able to express their needs or wants. However, if one of the children who creates the competitive environment feels excluded, it is important for families to take precautions. Clinical Psychologist Dr. DBE from the Institute of Behavioral Sciences. Didem Altay stated that the rivalry between siblings should not be supported by families and shared the steps that families can benefit from.
Sibling jealousy is the rivalry between children of the same sex and similar age, and it results from siblings competing with each other to gain the love and respect of their parents. A certain level of sibling rivalry is considered a healthy sign that each child is able to express their needs or desires among children growing up in the same family. However, if one of the children feels "excluded", which causes competition, families may need to be more careful and take precautions according to the situation.
Why do siblings compete?
Clinical Psychologist Dr. DBE from the Institute of Behavioral Sciences. Didem Altay pointed out that sibling rivalry is seen in many families, especially in families with two or more children, and stated that jealousy usually occurs in the following situations;
- The presence of a child with illness or special needs in the family who may need more attention and care
- Comparison between children by parents
- Fair/unequal attention of one child by the parent relative to the other child
- Perception of threat to the new baby
Love and being an example are the golden rules
Dr. Didem Altay pointed out that showing love is an invariable rule in solving all problems related to children and the first step in sibling rivalry is to show love. Altai; “It is important that parents spend special time with each of their children and make them feel good by doing activities that each child loves and is successful in. Beyond that, being a good role model to children, teaching them how to calm down in times of tension, and supporting them to increase their positive problem-solving skills should be the primary attitudes of families.” Stating that the basic rules such as no one should say bad words and hit each other can only be implemented by role modeling, Altay also stated that it is necessary for families to talk to children about the consequences of inappropriate behavior.
Don't compare, don't take sides
Clinical Psychologist Dr. Didem Altay stated that sibling jealousy is normal to a certain extent, but it is not right for families to see jealousy as an opportunity for children to “develop or prepare for life”. Pointing out that the high interest and protective attitude towards boys seen in some families in the culture we live in is also an important reason for competition, Altay said, “Avoid treating and comparing children according to their gender, abilities and personality traits. Comparing children hurts their feelings and makes them feel worthless. Instead, praise the child's positive traits and behaviors. Absolutely do not take sides. If the conflict escalates, separate them until they calm down. Let them communicate with each other and encourage them to express their feelings, listen to them. If they can't find a solution, help them to solve the problem,' he said.