Do you have kids who fight all the time and tell you that you love their other siblings more? That’s sibling rivalry and wow, it can be really hard for us poor mothers to explain that we love them all equally. I want to share with you a fun idea that I tried a few years ago that put an end to the issue once and for all.
What sibling rivalry looks like
My two daughters are Irish twins – they are just a year apart and my eldest is 5-6 years older than them. Once upon a time, I had this problem. My son was always complaining that I loved his sisters more. And the girls would always feel that their brother got an unfair advantage.
It wasn’t just the girls against their brother… they’d fight among themselves too. One would shove the other and hate it when I gave the same toy or item to the other. They didn’t want to share either. They both wanted me to sit on their bed at bedtime for stories and no matter what I did, I was still an unfair mom.
I tried a lot of things to help them work together. From involving them in team-building activities to buying them books about siblings and even putting up quotes on the wall! Everything worked for two days or less. 😐
So, one day… after an outburst and a difficult day where I had ended up being the mean and unfair mom “yet again”, exhausted, I did something that totally changed our home environment.
What causes sibling rivalry
You see, the real reason why siblings fight is because of jealousy and envy. Jealousy happens when one doesn’t know their own qualities. They feel the other person is superior to them. They think they are prettier, smarter, younger, cuter, more privileged, parent’s pet, etc. So, the best way to end sibling rivalry is to help your children know that they all matter to you, but also that you will not be taking sides.
My kids knew that I wouldn’t interfere or take sides if they fought. I’d just tell them to solve it by themselves because “I trusted them to find a solution.”
Yes, that irritated them the most, but I knew that there was little I could do to help them get along if I interfered. But what would really work is if they knew that they all had some qualities that were unique to them.
How I solved sibling rivalry once and for all
I knew my kids didn’t hate each other. They aren’t bad kids. It was just that they felt the other sibling was getting more attention from the parent. So here’s what I did:
I took a big chart and divided it into three columns. On the top of each column I wrote my children’s names. Then I proceeded to list out all the things I loved about each child. I wrote about their looks, their behaviour, the skills they had and those that I wanted them to improve, even their manners and what I admired about them… everything that I could think of, actually!
I used markers and pretty colors to write so when I was done, although it was just a plain chart with random sentences on it, it looked really cute. Then, what I did next was the magic part!
I took another piece of paper and made a small crown with it. Then I called them all back and told them that I had written a poem for each one of them.
We would start with the youngest. When I called out the name of the child, the child should step forward and wear the crown and then I would recite what I have written. When I am done, we will all hug you and then you must pass the crown on to the next child.
My children were shocked with delight as each one wore the crown and heard their mommy and siblings celebrate them. Their eyes were so big and wide as they listened to all the beautiful qualities they had within them that they hadn’t noticed at all! Of course, it felt so good to have hugs from everyone too.
(Daddy wasn’t part of this because he was away at work, but we did recite out the card again when he came home. )
The result of my experiment – building a sibling bond
That day, that card was stuck on a wall in mommy’s room. Whenever they came to my room they felt pride in what they saw. The little girls were just 4 and 5 years old then and at an age when they loved hearing me read aloud so many times they would ask me to read it out to them. My son, however, enjoyed coming to my room and standing in front of the chart sheepishly.
Did they ever fight again? Not like the way they used to!
It’s been 7-8 years since we made that chart so I write a newer version every few months to show them how proud I am of them all- but overall, this definitely changed the environment in my home. It ended sibling rivalry from the root!
Over to you now, do your children fight? Would you like to try this parenting hack? Tell me in the comments!
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