Having more than one child means, at some time in their early lives, you’ll be faced with conflicts between siblings and what is known a ‘sibling rivalry’.
Conflict between siblings is very common. Your older child was once the sole focus of your attention but now they have to share that with someone else and it’s not always easy to find the balance when it comes to meeting the needs of two or more children. Spreading yourself between more than one child can make you slower to answer requests and you also have double (or treble) the work to do. This is why some children may take their frustrations out on their siblings, whether arguing, refusing to share, telling tales or even fighting.
One of the main reasons that children fight is to gain attention from their parents. The way they see it, any attention is better than none. Try to make time for each child so you can focus your attention just on them. This isn’t always easy, so enlist in the help and support of your partner, or a family member or friend if you need to. You could do something as simple as read a book to/with them, or you could go all out and let them call the shots for an hour – dress up, play with Lego, anything that they want to do.
Spending time equally with your children isn’t always possible. Depending on their ages, you may have a child that needs more attention at certain times and needs help with feeding, dressing and getting off to sleep. While it’s good to be pro-active in giving children one-on-one attention, it’s also important to encourage them to spend time together, whether it’s playing or just watching the telly. Each child is individual and will have their own likes and interests, so be sure to get involved in these and encourage their sibling to as well. If one child likes to bake, engage the other in the activity too and then let them choose the next one.