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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sibling rivalry is common phenomena of all ages and the bond always wins

There are no easy solutions to what psychologists call “sibling rivalry” Preparation sometimes helps, talking about the baby with the other child or children in the house, taking pains to reassure them that your love for them will not diminish. You may get nice books with great illustrations for them if you so wish. Make sure that one of the parents sits with the child while he reads the book so that it does not make him feel that the book was a ploy to get him or her out of the way. Try and spend as much time as you can exclusively with the older child before the new one arrives. However, sometimes all your best efforts and even the older child’s willingness to have a sibling, cannot predict the reactions that will be triggered on the actual arrival of the baby.

To the parents the arrival of a new baby is a happy event but to an older and sometimes only child, the feelings may be mixed. Once the “centre of attraction”, he may now start feeling relegated to the background. No matter what you may do, a keen sense of competition inevitably sets in. As the demands of a new born baby is more on the mother’s time, the father can now step in spend some time alone with the older child.

It may annoy you but try to remember that it is only natural for the older child to feel a twinge   of jealously when you spend time with its sibling. You cannot ignore these feelings in your child and don’t be too harsh on them. They are just as bewildered by the strong emotions and do not know how to deal with them. Fortunately, for parents children adjust over a period of time.

Just as things smoothen out a bit and you are relieved to have tided over the situation satisfactorily, trouble comes back. The one year old baby’s walking and beginning of gibberish talking may draw so much admiration that competitive feelings begin to surface again. The rivalry is more intense now and sometimes may lead to actual harm to the baby. It sometime requires a superhuman effort to deal with the situation. Try and encourage interaction between them with minimal parental intrusion but definitely under parental supervision. Older brothers and sisters are important part of a baby’s life. Make them an integral part of caring for the baby; the baby will love their company more than yours! Sometimes, it also makes sense to champion the case of the elder child as the younger one may unknowingly damage his cherished possessions.

There are no fixed rules for handling sibling rivalry; it varies with each group of children. Encourage the children to appreciate each other, encourage them to learn to share their parents’ love and affection. There are no ‘quick fix’ solutions to such problems and only time will tell whether you have been able to lessen rivalry among the siblings.

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