“Siblings that say they never fight are most definitely hiding something”
Sibling rivalry…something that is not unheard of by any of us.
Do you have any idea where does this seed of rivalry get its food supply from?
How does it turn into a sapling first and slowly become a big, tough, resistant tree??
It all starts from comparison. And to no one’s surprise, its roots are manifested first within our homes only.
Knowingly or unknowingly, the parents and other family members tend to compare the children. It’s as simple as this…
“ABC, you are so good with coloring.”, you tend to tell your lil one.
When the elder one spurts out, “Mamma, am I not good enough?”
“XYZ, you are good too, but you tend to spread it out a bit.”
Isn’t that a very simple and visibly non-toxic response from a parent? But the fact is, it seeds in a kind of inferiority complex in the child. It gives rise to an unhealthy rivalry between them. A series of similar episodes can have serious repercussions on the behavior of the child and can poison their relationship. Some of us do not have an idea as to what extent comparison can effect child development.
- makes the child feel inferior, unloved and unwanted
- leads to an unhealthy competition between children
- kills talent and makes the child withdraw themselves from the rest of the crowd
- develops an indifferent attitude in children
- increases a feeling of loneliness within the child
Once in school, the only mantra they learn or rather we collectively as a society make them learn is, competition.
A teacher who handles a minimum of 25 children in a class cannot be questioned if she compares a child with many others. It is her duty to compare and encourage the children to improve themselves. Everything is good enough till it induces positive and healthy competition.
The trouble starts when the comparison gets too personal and without our knowledge sows the seeds of jealousy and destruction within a child. Our words, our actions, we have no idea how much they influence the children, so why not make them soft and supple for the innocent hearts to bloom and flourish? We cannot measure the intensity or the extent to which a child gets hurt, because children generally tend to hide their discomfort or the thoughts that are troubling them.
Care must be taken to ensure that comparison is perceived in a positive way. This can be imbibed within the child slowly by parents and other elders. Ensure not to make negative remarks too harshly. There are ways to handle things. Understand that we as elders too have inhibitions when it comes to accepting negative comparisons and criticism. If it can hurt a mature adult, imagine the extent to which it can hurt an innocent child’s feelings. Sometimes it is not necessary to voice out comparison to be fair to the one who does better. Do not be harsh and always give logical reasoning for a comparison you have made.
First and foremost, we must learn to place ourselves at the child’s level and see the bigger picture. Understanding and accepting the feeling of being compared helps a lot in resolving the situation. Comparison should be used to generate a positive competitive spirit in the children. While teaching the kids to win, one must also make them learn to accept failures. It helps a lot. I have seen kids who are so badly effected by small failures…and I have wondered how are they going to cope up with the bigger challenges in life.
Everyone wants their child to excel…but in that effort don’t end up torturing the child.
A thought that came up while handling a sibling fight between my little girls.
After all the gyaan sharing, I must admit that preaching is anytime better than implementing. There are many events when I myself have ended up comparing them both and hurting the other. But I try my best to talk it out with them and give them the reasoning for a particular behavior or my words that hurt them.
Honesty is the best policy.
A lesson I have learnt well through my parenting journey. Be honest and the child will respect you and will be open with you. And if you get to converse with them one on one without any barriers of age, half the work is done.
Happy Parenting! 🙂
P.S. Just as I am about to finish, Lil Love says,
“Rekhu, can you please pass on the eraser???”
Well, I’m wondering if I need to re-do the post…I guess too much honesty and friendliness is injurious too. 😀
- Sibling Squabbles
- Learnings of a Mom
- Sibling bullying: Is it damaging?
- Splitting Up Siblings – Emotions and Explanations
- Siblings Rivalery and Steps for Preventing it!
- The Sibling Relationship
- Sibling Rivarly Problems