From Conflict to Connection: Sibling Rivalry Solutions

two young girls wearing red clown noses

Siblings are a child’s first friends, peers, and partners in crime. They are the friend they see more often than they may like. They are the friend they compete with for their parent’s attention. The friend they fight with the most. The dynamics of sibling rivalry stem from birth order. The oldest, considered the most responsible, may clash with the youngest, the most cared for. Also, differences in the personalities of siblings create friction in the home.

Handling the constant arguments between your children may be unbearable as a parent. You may fear that the continuous bickering may cause long-term resentment between your children, resulting in deep-seated tension into adulthood. You may be concerned that the unresolved conflicts may imprint emotional scars. Your ability to parent may come into question if you do not address the sibling rivalry. Blame and regret may be emotions you experience. You may worry about the breakdown of the family unit and the emotional distance that could develop between your children. The impact of sibling rivalry on the family’s emotional well-being may be frustrating. Fortunately, there are strategies or techniques to reduce sibling rivalry.

Sibling Rivalry Help

Create a safe, open space where the siblings can feel validated and share their feelings. Listen to understand the perspective of each child. Pay attention to their nonverbal cues. Be empathetic and respectful of their expressions.

Engage in perspective-taking activities builds empathy. They help the siblings to understand each other and foster connection. Another benefit is cultivating emotional intelligence, which is essential for their well-being and development.

Team-building activities are another sibling rivalry intervention. Instead of fighting each other, siblings can collaborate and work together to achieve goals. This builds a sense of unity.

Parents have a role in mediating the arguments between siblings. Being fair and unbiased will contribute to a supportive environment.

Establishing personal boundaries will foster respect for each other’s personal space. Encouraging individual hobbies will help siblings develop separate identities, contributing to a healthier sibling dynamic.

Siblings’ behavior should be praised for including these solutions daily. An excellent way to encourage this behavior is by implementing a rewards system where siblings receive tangible rewards for cooperation and collaboration. This is a great way to reinforce positive behavior.

Another way to encourage positive behavior is to set an example. When children see their parents not bickering and arguing but healthily handling conflicts, this will motivate them to follow suit.

There are times when professional intervention is required. Children are not always expressive. The support of a therapist may be beneficial in helping children share their emotions and feelings. Child therapy techniques like art therapy, imaginative play, play therapy, dance movement therapy, drama therapy, and music therapy can help children express themselves.

Child Therapy in New York

At Creative Arts Therapy, we provide child therapy that is creative, empathetic, and transformative.

Creative expression transcends language, allowing children to tell us what they feel, even when they don’t fully understand it.

Art and play therapy takes the pressure off the child by not asking them to try and find the words that describe their emotions but allowing them to draw, paint, act, or do anything else that feels right. It can become daunting when a child feels the weight of expectation to ‘explain’ their feelings. But give them a brush, some clay, or a stage to act, and you unlock a world where feelings flow freely and stories unfold naturally!

Most importantly, creative therapy sets a comfortable, playful atmosphere for our sessions, helping children relax and enjoy their time here.

We celebrate every child’s unique journey. We want to help your child tell their story.

Creative Arts Therapy Source offers in-person therapy on Long Island. Online therapy is available across New York & New Jersey.