Jealousy - what to do when brothers and sisters are jealous
You can choose your friends but not your family, and some siblings just don't get on. Coram Family on what to do when jealousy takes hold
Most parents recognise the scene: 'Mum, it 's not fair', claims of 'He never ...', and 'She always ...' The verbal attacks are well honed to exacerbate the situation. For some families, sibling rivalries are relatively rare but, occasionally, brothers and sisters appear to dislike each other from the start.
So, what is going on when your children are at loggerheads?
As adults looking from the outside, we may call it 'jealousy'. But watch, listen and think about what is really happening between your children.
What are they thinking and feeling inside? Is it perhaps, 'I can't seem to get your attention until I call my brother rude names' or 'Why are you so happy about Marie's dry knickers? Haven't I done anything to make you pleased today?'
Sometimes, the shouting may be a way of saying they want time away from each other, but they need you to help them make a dignified retreat.
When children are struggling, perhaps at nursery or school, life can seem unbearable if a sibling receives lots of praise.
Children also like to have something special for themselves. Trouble can follow if a sister wants to make a scrapbook just like her brother's. Although this may be a form of flattery, it doesn't feel that way to the sibling whose personal territory is being invaded.
It is impossible to treat all your children the same, because they're individuals with their own personalities, talents and irritating features. Parents are responsible for treating children fairly and with equal concern and attention. Sometimes our own behaviour can contribute to a fraught situation between the children.