School is a huge part of your child’s life. On average your child spends more time at school or at school related activities than they spend awake at home. It should therefore come as no surprise that school related rivalries among children are a concern that parents have. Additionally a factor as simple as age difference can be enough to spawn reasons for dozens and dozens of school related arguments. So how are you supposed to keep the peace when your kids are constantly in rivalry about school?
Fortunately there are some things that you can do at home to ease the school day tension. If your children have already established their rivalry, be observant and watch for the types of things that set them off. Does one sibling like to tease the other about their crush, grades, appearance, etc.? And then try to find what the real root of the problem is. Maybe the sibling that is picking the fights is embarrassed about their own shortcomings and takes that out on their sibling. There could be a million different explanations for why your kids may be sibling rivals so don’t try to put them under a microscope, simply take note of the most frequent or sensitive arguments that come up.
Here are some more simple things that you can do to keep the peace with sibling rivalries about school:
Set limits – Kids need limits to help them to manage the strong emotions that they have to deal with. Limits pertaining to sibling rivalrys could include such things as, each child is responsible for their own actions regardless of who started the argument or provoked the other one. Keep the rules that you decide to enforce simple to understand and brief so that they can be easily remembered.
Respect differences – Once kids reach school age they begin to understand and even demand that everything be fair. They want fair treatment and therefore believe that if their sibling has something it is only fair that they be allowed that thing as well. The fact of the matter is that siblings may be equal in importance but should not always be treated equally. With age comes added responsibilities and privileges. Just because one sibling wears out their shoes does not mean that the other sibling automatically gets a new pair. This is ridiculous. You cannot run a household this way. Instead teach your children why it is that their younger brother was given a pair of shoes and they weren’t or why their big sister gets to stay up an hour later than they do.
Give your kids some space from each other – Sibling rivalries about school can be very personal. One sibling may feel less able about his abilities than another sibling or learning may simply come easier to one sibling than the other. By giving each sibling their own separate space at home (even if it is just separate work spaces in the same room), it helps to eliminate the feeling that they always have to be competing.
Make family decisions – When after school activities conflict make decisions as a family when it comes to who borrows the car, what game the family goes to see, etc. Compromise as a family so that the siblings who are rivalries see and understand that the decisions made were made by the family and that one sibling that they may not be getting along with is not to blame. Communicating with each other is also a great way to strengthen relationships. Your kids should also be reminded to try to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before passing judgment on what was said or done.