Parenting Tips on How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is something a lot of parents experience, and it can make even simple daily tasks seem exhausting and hectic. Growing up with two older brothers, I have personally experienced competitiveness and fighting between my siblings and I. Although sibling rivalry is sometimes impossible to avoid completely, it can be managed with a few strategies. Two articles I found discuss why sibling drama occurs and how to deal with it as a parent!

According to an article from, sibling rivalry can present itself in many ways, including name-calling, lying, stealing things, hitting, and tattling. Children display these types of behaviors for a variety of reasons. They may be bored, want attention, or want to be the ‘favored one’ in their parents’ eyes. One way you can resolve conflicts between siblings is to have each child express their point of view, generating possible solutions based on what they say, and then choosing one solution to try.

Another helpful tactic for handling conflict is to have cool off times in which someone takes a period of time to calm down before re-entering the situation. This can be used by both children and adults, and a child watching a parent exemplify this behavior is more likely to do so themselves. A unique strategy this article describes for fighting siblings is the “notepad, pencil, one story” technique. This involves having children work together to come up with a story they both agree with, which helps them see each others perspective and might make them forget why they were fighting in the first place.

In another article from Motherly, Sanya Pelini suggests teaching cooperation, not competition. To do this, Pelini says not to set children up against each other with words like “whoever finishes dinner first will get a special treat.” When children hear this, it can create competition between them, leading to jealousy and fighting. Instead, having children work towards a goal together is more likely to create positive relationships between each other.

3 easy activities for siblings to do together:

Sibling rivalry and competition may not be completely avoidable, but these tips can help minimize fighting between siblings and the stress that comes along with it. As a parent, it’s always important to have patience and help teach children how to come to reasonable solutions to their problems. Doing this will show siblings how to work together with each other and eventually they will be able to solve problems on their own!


Lyndsey Watkins is a senior at UNCW. She is majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing and a minor in journalism.

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