Sibling rivalry: Guidelines for Parents

From the birth of a second child to development in later years, jealousy and sibling envy are common problems. However, with appropriate measures, such jealousy should not be allowed to escalate. The aim is to foster love and complicity among siblings.

Envy among brothers, what to do?

One of the greatest concerns of parents arises when quarrels, jealousy and envy are generated among siblings. While it’s natural for everyone to develop their personality and fight, it’s also important to be attentive to behaviors that demonstrate greater problems.

In this sense, it is important to differentiate between jealousy and envy, since the latter is characterized by a sense of lack that seeks to appropriate what the other has. In general, envy begins to emerge when one desires with many anxieties what the other has, be it something tangible or intangible, such as an achievement.

It is important to note that there is a thin line between what is considered healthy envy and destructive envy. The former promotes self-improvement and striving to be as good as the other. The second, on the other hand, hinders these objectives.

Parents are, on many occasions and without realizing it, the first promoters of these behaviors. One of the reasons is that they show obvious preferences for one of the children, generally the one who behaves best, the best sportsman or the best pupil.

However, while it is important to encourage good behavior, it is also important to have a balance and control reactions toward each child.

The solution begins with patience and a greater balance and impartiality towards the children. It is important to internalize that each child is different, but that does not mean that one is better than the other. One only has to be attentive to the qualities of each one in order to help them cultivate them.

Symptoms of jealousy and envy

Parents should be very attentive to changes in their children’s behaviour, as this will make it much easier to take the appropriate corrective measures for each situation. In this aspect, there are certain symptoms that must be controlled.

Problems falling asleep

One of the main symptoms of sibling jealousy – which arises mainly when a new sibling is born – is trouble falling asleep. The child will try to seek the attention of his parents through this type of behavior unconsciously. With the passage of months, he should return to normal.

Hostility towards parents

On many occasions the child becomes aggressive and hostile towards his parents. This is one of the most common ways of expressing jealousy and, in these cases, parents should make an effort to offer equal treatment and also devote the necessary time.

How to avoid sibling envy?

Avoiding comparisons

Comparisons have always been unjust and, incredible as it may seem, they are one of the main causes of problems among the brothers. The solution is very simple and is in the hands of the parents: avoid comparisons.

Each child is different, has different abilities, and it is important to emphasize the good of each one and not force one of the children to be or behave the same as the other.

Involving the child with the other sibling

Encouraging children to be together and share activities is essential for everyone to feel equally loved and to avoid jealousy and envy. In the case of a new sibling, it is important to instill love since pregnancy and once born involve the older sibling in the care and games of the younger.

In practice, jealousy and sibling envy can be normal at certain times and stages. However, to prevent these feelings from growing, it is important for parents to make the necessary corrections and encourage love and respect. On a day-to-day basis it is necessary to demonstrate balance in reactions, avoid comparisons and encourage each child to feel loved equally.