Siblings–Friend or Foe?

Our siblings are our first friends and also our first rivals. Often, the cause of sibling rivalry can be due to children not wanting to share toys, space or even a parent’s attention. During these times of rivalry, children learn to develop lifelong skills such as how to compromise and negotiate and also learn how to regulate their anger and aggression. For parents it is important to use these disputes as opportunities to help children find a common ground by practicing problem-solving techniques on their own.

Here are some steps parents can take to promote a friendlier family environment:

  • Try to resolve problems with your kids, not for them.
  • Rather than focusing on which child is to blame, try to set up a “win-win” situation so that each child gains something.
  • Create a list with ground rules and consequences and allow your children to offer input.
  • Post a schedule showing which child “owns” items that are frequently in dispute at which times during the week. (And if they keep fighting about it, take the “prize” away altogether.)
  • Allow each child to have his or her own space.
  • Find family activities that allow everyone to have fun together.

Information courtesy of