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Handling Sibling Rivalry

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:34pm
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Sibling rivalry can develop for many reasons. In some cases it's due to the personalities of the children, but other times children may feel jealous. For example, if one sibling is really good at playing sports or is really good at school, but the other one struggles with these things.

Some sibling rivalry is to be expected.  If you had two best friends living together in the same house they would have some conflict and arguments from time to time.

The goal then is not to try to prevent sibling rivalry, but helping your children deal with any issues that arise between then in a constructive way.

If the rivalry takes the form of physical fighting between the children, it is very important for children to know that there is a "no hurting" rule, as opposed to just saying, "no pinching" or "no grabbing." Let them know right away that you won't tolerate that behaviour by saying, "we don't hurt anyone in this family."

If the children are arguing constantly, letting them work things out on their own is good in many cases. But be ready to step in when these little arguments start turning into long-standing issues. New research shows that children can suffer immensely if verbal taunts and threats by brothers and sisters go on and on.

To keep things peaceful, try to give each child one-on-one attention at least part of each day. This will make each child feel that she is still special to you.

Don’t compare your children. Sometimes parents fuel sibling rivalry by using one child as an example to the other. They ask, “Why can’t you listen like your brother?” or “Why can’t you have a clean room like your sister?”  This tends to create resentment rather than be helpful.  Let your children know that it is okay to be different.

When jealousy rears its ugly head, it's important not to blame one child or the other. Encourage the children to talk about their feelings of envy and jealousy. It's not going to be easy, but try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say in these situations. Try to emphasize the strengths of each individual child.

Share the consequences – When there is an issue that you are brought into, don’t take sides. Ask each child for their side of the story without any interruptions.  Ask the children what they think the solution is and, if it is reasonable, support their solution.  If they can’t come up with a solution you can proceed with a couple of options.

  1. Ask the children to work out a solution, and until they do, they are not allowed to do anything else.
  2. Come up with a solution yourself, but make sure that both of the children are involved.  Don’t give a consequence to just one child.  Remember it takes “two to tango.”  

Have you children apologize when they do something wrong. Saying I’m sorry is critical to the maintenance of loving relationships.  It says that “I care that I hurt you or upset you.”  At the end of any issue, have your child apologize to the other.  If both are involved in “causing” the issue they should both apologize.  If they are not ready, ask them to sit quietly until they are, even if it takes a while.  Finally, make sure the tone is right, an angry, “I’m sorry,” does not convey the right message.  

 

Is there jealousy or rivalry between your children? What have you done to manage the conflict between them? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

 

 

 

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Helping your preschooler learn to play with others

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 05:22pm
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As your young child learns to play with others, she may need your help to learn what behaviour is acceptable. If you see that your child is upset when playing, encourage her to put all her emotions, particularly her frustrations, into words. Try to identify with your child's feelings, but let her know that there are still certain ways that one should behave in such a situation: "You want to play with that puzzle, but Jason has it now. Even though you really, badly want it, you will have to wait."

If there's been a problem with another child, help your child see the other child's point of view, and talk about possible solutions to the problem. "You grabbed Jason's puzzle and now he is very sad. Please give Jason the puzzle back and wait until he is finished." You will need to be a good role model, as your child will be watching you to learn social skills. You will need to avoid reactions like rudeness or impatience. Little children watch adults all the time, and copy our worst as well as our best behaviour.

Making friends works best if you let your child choose when he wants to play and whom he wants to play with. Children don't necessarily become friends with each other just because their parents are friends or relatives. Learning to get along with others takes time, so don't push your child to play with others. 

If your child is having difficulty becoming part of the group or getting along with others, watch him, and see if there are ways you can help him join in. Sit on the sidelines with him and discuss what is happening in the room, where he would like to play and how he could join in to be accepted. Or give your child a toy that will fit in with the group's play, in order to help him join the group.

 

How did you help your child learn to play with others? At what age did they start having an easier time? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

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Temperament and Your Preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:54pm
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Some preschoolers are more expressive, some more timid. Some are very physically active, and some are more sedate. Some are sensitive to loud noises, while others are not bothered at all. Some thrive when surrounded by people, while others are content to play alone quietly. These differences are what we call temperament, and much of this becomes evident in the first few months after birth. 

As parents, it is important to recognize and accept the basic temperament of your child, so you can respond appropriately. For example, if your child's temperament is timid, introduce new activities slowly and allow time for him to build up confidence. If your child's temperament is highly active, give advance notice of changes, so she doesn't fly off the handle. And, if your child's temperament is easy-going, remember that even though she copes well, you are still needed - so check in and stay connected.

Learn more about temperament and watch our unique Temperament Video featuring our expert, Dr. Carol Crill Russell.

 

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Halloween Comfort, Play & Teach Tipsheet

by Maxine
Posted October 23 2011 05:18pm
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Halloween is a wonderful fall celebration full of traditions around giving out treats, carving pumpkins and roaming through the neighbourhood in costume. Parents play an important role in helping their child to understand this holiday and to feel secure. Here are some Comfort, Play & Teach© ideas that will support parents in making Halloween enjoyable for their child.

 Download the Halloween Tipsheet


Check out our other Halloween Tipsheet!

 

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