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Home » Pro » Reflections on Applied Behavior Analysis » Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore


with Heather Gilmore, MSW, LLMSW, BCBA

Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore

Day 252 - Sibling Rivals

(image by: Ken Wilcox)

Sibling rivalry is one of the most challenging, frustrating, and overwhelming aspects of parenting. Kids are so often getting frustrated and annoyed of their siblings for one reason or another. Sibling rivalry can take a toll on everyone in the family.

Why does this occur and how can you, as a parent, deal with it?

Here are a few reasons why siblings fight so much:

  • The changing needs of each child as he or she develops and grows.
  • Temperament and personality
  • The needs and traits of siblings who may have a physical or mental disability or challenge.
  • What children are being taught.
  • How children’s behaviors are being reinforced.

Here is a video from Pamela Varady, Psy.D. about why siblings fight. She sums up some great points!

Here are a few things you can do about the sibling rivalry in your home. By implementing these and other useful techniques, there is hope that you will no longer have to deal with sibling rivalry anymore, at least not very much. If your children learn to solve their own problems, they will also be able to handle their disagreements with their siblings more appropriately and with less assistance from you more often.

  • Model appropriate conflict resolution skills.
  • Provide praise to acts of kindness that your children do for each other.
  • Teach children about regulating their emotions.
  • Teach children about how to react with the reasoning and logical thinking part of their brain versus automatically reacting with their natural inclination for fight or flight.

Watch this video for a quick tip about how to handle sibling rivalry. Dr. Robert Brooks provides a useful idea for helping children to perceive that their parents are treating all the children in the family fairly. When children don’t perceive this is happening, sibling rivalry can escalate.

Your home is not destined to always have sibling rivalry. Peace can be found!

Check out my latest eBook for more information.

“Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore.”

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Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore


APA Reference
Gilmore, H. (2015). Sibling Rivalry: How to deal with sibling rivalry so you won’t have to anymore. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 27, 2019, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/child-therapist/2015/02/sibling-rivalry-how-to-deal-with-sibling-rivalry-so-you-wont-have-to-anymore/