It can be disheartening, but no matter how sweet or well-behaved your children are, chances are they will have a nasty fight every once in a while. This is usually completely normal, but you may find yourself asking why.

Sometimes the smallest things make them snap at or ignore each other. The media portrays the older sibling bullying or the younger one playing pranks and this could be the case – or exactly the opposite – in your family,

Of course, it’s helpful to emphasize how they should be there for each other and to try your best to encourage their friendship. But it’s always useful to look at the role you might be playing in their rivalries. First, do you treat them differently? Common questions are: why does he get to stay up later? Why does she always get away with it? Why did he get the last one? These disputes are based on a perception of favoritism. Many times, these feelings are not due to one particular incident and as a parent it can be hard to notice.

It’s nearly impossible to treat children the same no matter how hard you try, but explanations can go some way to clarifying the situation. While this won’t always work, it does offer them a different perspective and might make them think that “mom and dad have their reasons.” It may also highlight to them that sometimes things go their way – which could lessen friction with their sibling.

Another all too common problem is that they are being treated too similar – not that they receive the same things or have equal chores.This is about unhelpful comparison. Chances are, your children excel or aren’t so good at different things. One child may be better academically whereas the other is a soccer ace. If you see the differences, chances are they will notice it as well and the poorer performer could start feeling a little insecure about their own abilities. It is important that you help children find their own talents and treat each child as though their achievements – in whatever activity – are equal. It also helps to have a growth, rather than fixed, mindset so that roles of “the clever one” or “the sporty one” aren’t fixed into your family culture.

Author Brushies

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