Millcreek Childcare Experts Discuss Sibling Rivalry

Feb 26, 2013, 19:15 ET from Learning Tree Schools

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sibling rivalry is very real, and can be triggered by well-meaning parents without realizing it. Millcreek childcare experts explain how parents can unwittingly provoke the rivalry and ways to avoid it.

Parents may find themselves saying, "My oldest child is the scholar, the middle is the athlete and the youngest is the creative one of the family."

In an effort to give children their own identity, well-meaning parents actually create friction among their children.

"Children who are labeled as 'master' of a certain domain may actively seek ways to prevent their siblings from partaking in that activity," says Hosking, who owns three child day care centers in the Sandy, Utah area.

It is important to show children that, even though one may be more inclined to a certain activity or trait, that doesn't mean the entire family can't also be involved. Parents should teach their children to enjoy their experiences, without comparing them to anyone else – including their siblings.

How parents handle conflict also influences the way their children interpret their siblings. Children should be encouraged to work through conflict constructively on their own. Intervention from parents can rob younger children of the ability to develop problem solving skills. Parents should encourage their children to first talk through their problems together and try to reach a compromise, and then congratulate them on resolving their problem together.

It's also important for parents to model positive relationships for their children. Parents are a child's first teachers, and they will learn how to interpret behavior from their parents. If positive interactions are displayed, that will carry over into their interactions with siblings and peers in their schools and daycares.

Help children develop social understanding and empathy at home with their siblings, and they will exhibit less jealousy in their classrooms or child care center. Children will be able to understand the situations unfolding before them, such as why a parent may need to hold and cuddle a baby more or why a teacher is providing extra help to another student, and therefore won't feel in competition.

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