Archive for February, 2008

Sibling Rivalry and bloody noses!

The Red Power Rangers!We recently had our first bloody nose that occured due to less than brotherly love! As an only child I have long struggled with the whole ” sibling rivalry” thing.  Dealing with the rough play that boys love is hard enough. Seeing that between brothers on a bad day and I start freaking out. Everyone tells me that it is part of normal development but I wasn’t so sure as I heard the screaming and opened my bedroom door to find Matthew’s nose pouring out blood. I, of course, was the ever loving parent, who, having just got herself doled up for a date night with hubby, held her son at arms length and steered him in the direction of the bathroom! ( yes I know I should have scooped him up in my arms but it was a new jumper!).  Anyway it was all cleaned up and over in 5 minutes but it reminded me of some excellent stuff I read in James Dobson’s book “The New Strong-willed Child” on this subject. In the chapter entitled bitter brothers and surly sisters he offers three suggestions that ” should be helpful in acheiving at least a state of armed neutrality at home”.

1. Don’t inflame the natural jealously of children. In matters of beauty, brains, athletic ability, and anything else valued in the family or neighbouhood, children should know that in their parents’ eyes, they are respected and have equal worth with their siblings. Praise and criticism at home should be distributed as evenly as possible. Don’t set one up against the other, even though they will naturally be better at different things in the outside world.

2. Establish a workable system of justice at home. There should be reasonable rules that are enforced fairly for each member of the family.

3. Recognize that the hidden “target” of sibling rivalry is you (the parent).  Conflict between siblings can often become a way of manipulating parents. Quarrelling and fighting provide a way for both children to capture adult attention.

Dr Dobson expands on each of these three points in book and gives some practical ways to implement them in your home. This is not the only good chapter in the book and it is well worth a read. Even if  you have do not have a strong willed child, there are some good sound parenting tips and it will help you empathise with the rest of us struggling round the supermarket with our defiant kids!

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