Sibling Rivalry

Written by: Allison Levine

You start cooking in the kitchen after checking that Amy and Adam are playing nicely in the next room. Suddenly, your little Amy is running to you with teary eyes. When you ask her what happens, Amy says that her older brother Adam pushed her. You find Adam’s concerned look in the next room. He admits that he pushes Amy but begins to cry when you put him in a time-out chair. You overhear from him, “I hate Amy. It is not fair.”   

You may face this kind of situation on a regular basis. You feel that they seem to like each other but cannot get along almost daily.  You may learn from the book that sibling rivalry is a natural thing. Yet, it is impossible not to intervene when there are constant fighting, put downs, and arguing among children. What’s worse, you are not even sure how to intervene to stop the fighting. How to promote peace in your house? What should you do help your children get along and eventually develop into a close one?  

Sibling rivalry can be as stressful and challenging for parents as it is for children. It is important for parents understand the nature of sibling rivalry and become proactive in developing skills that promote healthy sibling relationships. Learn some relationship-based approaches to managing these struggles in a way that helps maintain and promote strong sibling relationships.

A few tips:

  • Always check your children’s physical condition.  If a child is tired, hungry, or bored, respond to basic needs first, since children tend to be less cooperative when they’re not physically well. 
  • Developmental expectations of children of different ages should be different.  Each child should be treated uniquely based on their developmental capabilities. 
  • Learning to share and get along with others takes time.  It’s a process.  Try to be patient and understanding. 

To get more information and learn HOW to use these strategies with your child, join us for a Parent Workshop on Thursday, December 6, 2012, at 6-8PM at The Theraplay Institute in Evanston.  

The Theraplay Institute is located at 1840 Oak Ave, Suite 320, Evanston, IL, 60201.  To learn more about Theraplay, visit, join us on Facebook, or contact Allison Levine, Clinical Coordinator at 847.256.7334 or  

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 9:25 PM