Silly Sibling Rivalry

advice children sibling sibling rivalry

I remember as a child having physical fights with my brother as we fought over the silliest things yet the thought of my own children fighting like this fills me with absolute dread.

It’s an idealistic notion to expect them to get on all the time, and in a way it could be seen as a positive thing that they feel confident enough to disagree but I still can’t shake the dream that they’ll all be the best of friends and grow up without a cross word.

Now, the older two, Poppy and Mitchell are best friends when no one is looking. Mitchell is autistic, so he gels well with Poppy who is four years his junior. They share similar interests in TV and games and so when other friends aren’t present they play well together. Until mum or dad walks in.

They share a competitive nature that means both want to be seen as the best in our eyes, the best at Maths, English, creativity (not housework funnily enough) and this battle for approval can lead them to dirty tactics as they try to discredit the others achievements. This is when the fights start.

I have found the ideal solution for this, and that’s to make myself the common enemy. Quite simply, if I’m the ogre, they band together and fights are forgotten in a trice.

Enter the next problem, our 2 year old Percy, who needs 24 hour care and attention but is an absolute delight. Big brother is old enough to understand the age difference yet big sister, with a 6 year age gap resents the extra attention. I can’t use my ogre tactics here.

I’ve tried everything, from time alone with Poppy to giving her extra responsibility to revisiting her own childhood, to showing just how alike they are. Still she bosses her around as if she’s the family pet and refuses to share any toys unless she attaches terms and conditions.

I will continue to try to encourage Poppy to be the better bigger sister, but if I look back to my old childhood, being the baby of the family, I do remember the clearly defined pecking order that meant I was often left out.

Maybe it’s a case of idealism, a dream that can never be true and the natural progression is all part of growing into a well-rounded adult, only time will tell. Any thoughts or advice is much appreciated!

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