While it’s expected that raising and parenting more than one child is easy, in fact, disciplining two or more children with wildly different characters and temperaments often makes their parents upset. There is no doubt that there is competition and jealousy between them, leading them to fight.
The term referring to the circumstance is called “sibling rivalry,” which means the ongoing conflict between children raised by the same parents. The conflict here can happen between blood-related siblings, step siblings, and even adopted or foster siblings that might take the form of verbal or physical fighting, tattling and bickering, voicing feelings of envy, etc.
Sibling rivalry usually has a negative impact on both siblings as well as their parents. On the contrary, Signe Whiston, a child and adolescent therapist, revealed that sibling rivalry is not always bad and can benefit both children’s development. What are they?
1. Able to solve the conflict
In childhood, both slight conflict and unavoidable conflict will always appear between siblings. When conflict happens at home, one will try to deal with it and resolve it with siblings. Further, one who can solve the conflict with siblings will become stronger and have greater capability when facing conflicts outside the home.
2. Develop negotiation skill
Sometimes, sibling rivalry teaches them how far they are willing to compromise and how far they can defend themselves. If something happens between them, they will learn how to negotiate for what they want and need.
3. Self-control practices
The University of Cambridge’s Center for Family Research found that the more often children are irritated with their siblings, the more they will practice controlling their emotions. If there is conflict between them, one or both will be increasingly aware that their actions can affect the emotions of others. In the future, their self-control practices may allow them to grow into emotionally intelligent individuals.
4. Have empathy and listening skill
As a parent, you may see your children talking to each other after a fight. Well, it is a common situation after a fight since they may share how they felt and why they started to fight. Unconsciously, this kind of conversation will hone their empathy-listening skills. Further, having empathy for their siblings at home will also lead them to understand and respect others’ points of view.
5. Learn to share
Everything at home could become a thing to make them fight, such as toys, food, seats, TV programs, etc. Of course, it may be a very common situation for parents to see their children fight over that thing.
As a parent, you can calmly teach them not to be selfish. If they can accept it, they may slowly learn how to overcome the frustration of having to share. After they often learn to share with their siblings, they will also learn to share with people in their outside environment and with society as a whole.
6. Improve communication
Fighting will unconsciously lead to sibling trade arguments. The more fiercely they argue, the more they will learn about how to communicate and how to express themselves in words. Reportedly, a child who has siblings and often argues with them will have higher social skills.
Okay, those are the six positive impacts of sibling rivalry that Signe Whiston revealed. Since sibling rivalry mostly delivers negative rather than positive impacts, a parent of more than one child really needs to monitor and control it so that it will not become a bad relationship between siblings in the future.