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A sibling is a brother or a sister. It is acceptable that there are strong feelings, words and actions between siblings. Fighting and arguing between siblings is normal – it is how children learn to sort out problems and learn strategies they can use in other situations that is important. Rivalry between siblings is quite common and is part of how children work out their place in the family. Temperament and personality have a huge impact on a child’s ability to manage their feelings, especially the feelings of anger and frustration. Some children struggle with managing their anger and can trigger a reaction in another sibling.
Often fighting between young children decreases as they get older and learn more language and social skills.
Some facts about sibling rivalry
Sibling rivalry has been identified as more common among children who are the same gender and close together in age.
Rates of sibling rivalry are lower in families where children feel they are treated equally by their parents.
Australian research indicates that parents rate the quality of sibling relationships differently to how the children themselves rate them. Generally, a child’s opinion of their relationship with a sibling is more optimistic than their parent’s view of the relationship.
Competition between twins
This is heightened in the case of identical twins. Being compared and contrasted with each other seems to encourage competition and rivalry.
Low self-esteem, depression and jealousy are more likely if one child is out-performed by their brother or sister in some way. Studies have shown that a twin who is out-performed is likely to abandon an activity altogether to avoid direct competition, even if they show great potential themselves.
Preparing your child for a new sibling...
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