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Sibling rivalry: The good, the bad and how to deal

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to help your kids get along

If you have more than one child, odds are that you are already dealing with sibling rivalry to some extent. Sibling rivalry can begin before the second child is even born, and it often continues throughout life.

How to deal

Families can only handle a certain amount of chaos and conflict. If your kids are constantly bickering, fighting and competing, you may want to step in. However, don't jump in headfirst without thinking of the consequences.

Unless it's a physical fight, try to wait and see if the children can resolve their issues on their own. If you always get involved, your kids will start to expect you to come to the rescue all the time. It also may start to appear that you are protecting a particular child, which can cause resentment from the others. Instead, avoid playing the blame-game over who started the problem, and try to help your children learn to resolve their problems and differences by coaching them in the right direction.

Siblings playing games

Read more about how to deal with sibling rivalry >>

Establish rules and consequences

Set solid ground rules for what's acceptable behavior in your home. Let your kids take part in establishing the rules, as well as determine the consequences of breaking them. This will give them some power and help them take responsibility for their behavior.

Set up schedules

If fights in your home are regularly about the same things (such has a particular toy or game), then set up a schedule that shows what times or days that each child can use the item. Allow your kids to earn more playtime by getting good grades, doing household chores and, most importantly, helping one another.

Provide one-on-one time

Because much of sibling rivalry stems from children's desire for their parents' attention, be sure to give each child one-on-one time as often as possible. Focus this time on each particular child's personality, needs and interests. One-on-one bonding promotes confidence and will help the child feel important, safe and loved. Also recognize when your kids need time away from each other. Let them have the time and space play with their own friends or enjoy individual activities without their sibling(s).

Encourage healthy competition

Ease problems between children by taking part in regularly activities as a family -- competitive games and events, as well as non-competitive peaceful activities. Healthy competition through individual and team-oriented activities is beneficial to your kids. These activities also can help them bond and relate to each other.

With a little patience, planning and forethought, you can encourage healthy competition while reduce rivalry, arguments, stress and problems among kids in your home

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More about sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry: How to deal with physical fighting
Sibling rivalry: "Safe" conflict
Sibling rivalry: A developmental phase?

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