Sibling Rivalry: How to Deal With It.
Parents get tired of the bickering, teasing, competing, and ongoing provocation between their children that's always going on. They can't understand why their children won't stay off each other's case, get out of each other's way, leave each other alone, and just be friends.
The answer is "the children do." Fighting is not a sign of children not getting along. It is how they get along - using conflict to test their power, establish differences, and ventilate emotion with a familiar family adversary. Conflict from sibling rivalry is built into family life as children compete for dominance, parental attention, parental support, and household resources.
No wonder so many couples now elect to have an only child. They don't have to listen to all the sibling arguments, break up all the sibling spats, or worry about dividing the parental attention and resources they have to give. Of course, the downside of being an only child is often manifesting in significant adult relationships later on. By missing out on the rough and tumble of sibling warfare, the young adult only child may be woefully inexperienced with the complexity of sharing, and have a low tolerance and limited understanding for how to deal with conflict.
The more similarity there is between your children - same sex, close in age, similar interests - the more sibling conflict over dominance and differentiation there is likely to be. The major exception to this is identical twins for which similarity creates an unusual intimacy. They seem to enjoy sharing a single identity between them. The more alike they are, the closer they feel.
For other siblings, however, similarity only increases conflict by increasing the need to win competition and establish individuality. To reduce some of this need for conflict from inadequate diversity (or excessive similarity), parents can encourage:
Separate social circles for siblings,
Separate interests and activities for siblings,
Separate goals and future directions for siblings,
Separate times with parents,
Attendance at separate schools,
And joint activities that both siblings enjoy doing together.
The more diversity between siblings, they less they have to fight to differentiate from one another and contest dominance between them.
About the Author: Abagaile Odalis is a family and relationship professional with 12 years of experience in this field. She has written two revolutionary books on how to Seduce Women and the other to Attract Men.