Sibling Rivalry and Prayers for Those Impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire

Two Sisters

Two Sisters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Mommeeeeee….Rachel pushed me!”   “Mommeeeee…Brandon took that toy and I had it first!” 

If you grew up with brothers and/or sisters, the above scenarios probably sound familiar.

If you have more than one child now, you have probably heard similar complaints in your own home.

Sibling rivalry seems to be inevitable, but is it ALL bad?

And what, if anything, can parents do to ease the tension and reduce the conflicts between their kids?

Last year, the University of Cambridge did a study that showed that siblings can have a positive effect on a child’s early development of social understanding (the awareness of others thoughts and feelings) even when there is some discord such as arguing or teasing.  The communication between siblings helps them learn to express their feelings and emotions.  It is important for parents with only children to make sure they are providing their child with many opportunities for conversation about thoughts and feelings.

Sustained or continuous sibling rivalry, however, can result in behavioral problems and relationship building issues later in life.

With summer here and kids at home, here are some simple steps parents can take to create a more peaceful and positive atmosphere:

  • Plan family activities that are fun for everyone.
  • Make sure each child has his or her own space.
  • Encourage cooperation, not competition…when picking up toys; have the children race the clock, not each other.
  • Teach conflict resolution.
  • Don’t play favorites or compare siblings.
  • Make sure your kids are not hungry or tired or bored.
  • Plan family time such as eating meals together.
  • Teach positive ways to get attention from each other and from parents.
  • Set aside along time with each child.
  • Don’t take sides.
  • Teach kids to compromise and respect one another.
  • Encourage children to express their feeling and find words for them.
  • Be a good role model.

Picture books are a wonderful tool to use as well.  If you are looking for a great picture book that addresses this problem, there are several to choose from:

Queen of the World by Thomas Yezerski

I Love You Purplest by Barbara Joosees

Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick by Kevin Henkes

And one of my favorites:

The Day No One Played Together by Donalisa Helsley.

The Day No One Played Together: A Lesson About Compromise, is a beautifully illustrated (by the talented Sarah Harkey) story of two sisters who want to play together.  However, each wants the other to play HER game.  When the sisters come to a stalemate, their mom steps in with a suggestion: COMPROMISE.  The girls begin to brainstorm many ideas of how they can incorporate what each wants to do so that they can play together.  They happily solve their problem and the book ends with the sisters spending the rest of the day playing with each other.  Parents…read this story with your children…help them apply the concept of compromise next time there is an argument…and enjoy the peace and harmony.

On the last page of the book, Ms. Helsley provides a simple definition of some of the words in the story that young children might be hearing for the first time.  I love this feature of the book…we should always encourage children to understand what they are reading or hearing…this helps build their vocabulary…one of the most important components of literacy. 

You can find out more about this great children’s author by visiting her website: www.wildaboutreading.net  She has a new book out, I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies.

To contact her: wildaboutreading@ymail.com

The book is available for purchase on Amazon, B&N.com, Goodreads and the author’s website.  

Take advantage of the more laid back pace of summer and provide your children with fun-filled moments they will remember forever.  Spend time reading with them and doing other activities.  If you are looking for great book suggestions and quick and easy activities, please check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

Life has been turned upside down, here in Colorado Springs.  The past week has brought devastation and terror to many residents as the Waldo Canyon Fire raged…fueled by record heat and an exceptionally dry winter and spring.  Over 300 homes were destroyed on Tuesday night…consumed by the hungry flames before our eyes as we watched television coverage in shock and horror.  The fires are still burning…and the impact will be felt for years to come.  Please join me in praying for the brave firefighters and others who are still battling the fire…and for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

19 thoughts on “Sibling Rivalry and Prayers for Those Impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire

    • That’s a wonderful perspective on sibling rivalry, Colline. Researchers are pointing that out now…it’s important to learn how to deal with conflict…and what better place than at home where there are parental checks and balances. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Thanks for the reminders how how to deal with sibling rivalry. My boys have been arguing a lot recently and they’re driving me nuts! As for not taking sides, you’re so right. Every time they argue about who started what, I tell them I don’t care to hear it and they have to figure a solution, or else I’ll do it myself and they won’t like it (e.g. take the toy they’re arguing about away). Kids sure know how to test their boundaries over and over…

    Good luck with the wildfires. We’ve had our share of wildfires here in San Diego, both in 2003 (the largest wildfire in California’s history, which burned down a quarter of San Diego county) and again in 2008 and I hope never to see that again in my lifetime.

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    • Thanks so much, Milka, for contributing to the discussion about sibling rivalry. It’s true that most of us experience it…and I love the way you handle your sons…kids often have these power struggles to see if they can be the “winner” of mom’s attention and favor. 🙂
      They are getting a handle on the Waldo Canyon Fire, fortunately. 🙂 It was definitely scary for a while…and sad for those who lost homes and other property. I remember the California wildfires…Mother Nature can be very destructive!

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      • I think it doesn’t matter how hard we try to be the best species on the planet, Mother Nature will always prevail and remind us how insignificant we really are in front of her.

        Going back to sibling rivalry, I’m happy to say my kids have never asked me which son I loved the most, or whined that I loved their sibling more. We once watch an old video where a child asked that question to his parents because of his constant jealousy. Huh? I can tell you we never watched it again!

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    • You are so sweet! Thank you so very much…I’m honored and will respond with a post when I get back from Chicago. 🙂 Quite a few months ago, I received several other awards…maybe I will have to do a big award post and include all of them. 🙂

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  2. very true about the sibling rivalry. I had this with my oldest sister – I’m the second and we are 2 yrs apart while I have 7 yrs gap with the one after me… we are 6 by the way 😀 . It is also most obvious with siblings that have less yr-gaps between them. I love your suggestions…it could have been very useful with my sister and I LOL. But I must say that we have overcome this as now that we are both grown ups, the rivalry was left in the past 🙂

    Spanish Pinay

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    • My sister and I are three years apart…and yes, we also had some sibling rivalry. I’m also happy to say that we don’t anymore. 🙂
      Glad you thought the suggestions were helpful…I take my hat off to your parents…six is definitely a houseful. 🙂

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  3. We’ve been praying for the firefighters and residents of Colorado Springs. It’s such a beautiful area, and the fires are so devastating. Stay safe, and take care! I like your advice on keeping kids occupied. I make a big effort not to compare my twin girls. It’s easy them being the same age and having so many things in common. But I definitely want them to grow up as their own persons and not as each other’s shadows.

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    • Hi Hannah…sounds like you are doing a great job with your twins…twins definitely pose a special situation because they are naturally closer than other siblings…but you do want them to be able to be individuals. 🙂
      Thanks for the prayers for the wildfires…it was definitely a scary time for a while…I’m glad they have increased the containment…so many people were affected by them…it will take quite a while for them to recover and rebuild.

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  4. I didn’t have any rival because my siblings both are boys 😀 but now I have two boys of mine, and I really carefully teach them not to be a rival but to be a best friend toward each other.. I hope they will always be best friend..
    I really need to learn more… and I am lucky to have you who always share the best tips in parenting 🙂
    thank you for sharing this Vivian 🙂

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    • I’m so happy to see you here, Yulia! Every time I read your posts, I am impressed with how hard you are working to uplift both of your sons and help them to become good, responsible, happy men! Thank you so much for your kind words..I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Crystal…glad you can use them…my three kids loved to sit and read picture books and then we would do a little arts and crafts project…and maybe a little cooking activity…it’s the program my book is based on and it really makes the day fly by. 🙂

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    • You are so welcome, Donalisa! We all need to let others know about the wonderful books that are out there…yours is amazing! I just did a review of a great book for parents of toddlers and preschoolers…hope you will check it out!

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