Most brothers and sisters (siblings) argue and bicker occasionally. Children tend to fight over possessions, space on the sofa, time in the bathroom, the last donut, and a host of other seemingly unimportant issues. Quarreling is an inevitable part of sibling relationships. On most days, brothers and sisters are friends and companions, but on some days, they are rivals and competitors because they want to gain their parents’ attention and to be their parents’ favorite. The positive side of sibling rivalry is that it gives children a chance to learn to give and take, share and stand up for their rights. Here are some tips to help the situation:
- Encourage children to settle their own disagreements;
- Try to stay out of the middle;
- If an argument becomes too loud or annoying, do something about it;
- Do not permit hitting, breaking things, or name-calling;
- Stop arguments that occur in public places;
- Protect each child’s personal possessions, privacy and friends;
- Avoid showing favoritism;
- Praise cooperative behavior; and
- Take steps to prevent fighting or name-calling.
For the most part, these arguments will become less frequent, and if children learn to settle differences peacefully while they are young, they will be less likely to have major disagreements when they become teenagers, or if they do, they will be more likely to settle them before they end up in violence.
For additional healthy kids tips, log onto baymed.org, scroll over "Health Checks & You" and join our "E-List." For more information about childhood diseases or development, contact Inez Balinska, MD or Darek Balinski, MD, McLaren Bay Region Pediatrics, Medical Mall, 1456 W. Center Road, Essexville. (989) 895-4840.