Parenting Now!

How to Minimize Sibling Rivalry

“Sibling rivalry.” We’ve all heard of it. If we have more than one child, we’ve probably witnessed it. “My sibling is my best friend.” We’ve heard that too. Some of us have experienced it with our own siblings. How do we get our kids to go from rivals to friends, or to at least getting along? Every child and relationship are different, but there are some methods that can help siblings get along and help your children generally learn about sharing, empathy, compassion, and respect.

Start at the Very Beginning

Set the stage with your child before the new arrival is even there.

When the Baby Arrives

Things will be hectic with a new baby. The reality is you probably won’t be able to be as attentive to your older child as much as you were before the new baby came. You can, however, make sure your child is getting what they need to feel valued and lessen possible jealousy of the new child.

Sharing and Caring

As your children get older, new sibling issues will arise.


No matter what you do, conflicts will happen – they do in all relationships and siblings are no different.

Each Child is Special

Treating each child exactly the same is not a way to avoid sibling rivalry and can even provoke it. Children are at different ages and stages and have different personalities. Let children know that sometimes you need more, and sometimes their sibling needs more. Sometimes you even need to take turns with parents. Here are some possible questions and responses:

Siblings Forever

For better or worse, and there are times of each, siblings are in each other’s lives. Start from the beginning to build healthy, loving and respectful relationships. Use those inevitable conflicts as opportunities for your children to develop empathy and problem-solving skills.  And make sure they have fun special times with each other and with you. You will help create memories and relationships that will last a lifetime.


This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson ( Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.

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