Sibling Rivalry, Controlling (cont.)
One exception to this is when a sibling is too young and too small to get out of the way or call for help. At those ages it is important for a parent to be present to supervise.
Although one can talk to many adults who have negative memories of their siblings, I think it maybe that those are the ones that often stick in our minds. And with some help, these adults can scratch beneath that surface to find some of the positive memories. There certainly are just as many adults who even with the fighting and confrontations, remember their childhood interactions with siblings fondly and really rely on their adult relationships with siblings as important supports in their lives.
I would wonder, in this family, as is often the case, whether or not the alliances that have gotten set up are in some way related to each parent's experience with their own parents when they were children. It might be helpful to try to stop and reflect back on one's own memories of which parent one was closest to because these certainly can be more powerful than we realize in influencing our feelings about each of our children.
In terms of what you can do to, as you say, stop playing favorites. I think the simplest and most effective thing would be to set up regular, reliable, privilege time that you spend just with your son. See this time just as a chance to be together and to get to know each other. I think that it's pretty likely that with that kind of time, over time, you will discover your own kind of closeness together that may even surprise you. You may need to choose something to do that's on neutral territory where you both feel comfortable. You may need to go somewhere where you can do something that you both like to do, rather than trying to engage with trucks or cooking -- that's going to ultimately leave either you or him cold.
This participant is giving us another opportunity to see the silver lining of sibling conflict, which is that if each child then has the opportunity to experience their reaction to the conflict and examine their feelings. There are very important opportunities for learning that they would be deprived of if parents always tried to smooth everything over and to deny the importance of what we tend to consider as these negative experiences or interactions.
©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.
- Allergic Skin Disorders
- Bacterial Skin Diseases
- Bites and Infestations
- Diseases of Pigment
- Fungal Skin Diseases
- Medical Anatomy and Illustrations
- Noncancerous, Precancerous & Cancerous Tumors
- Oral Health Conditions
- Papules, Scales, Plaques and Eruptions
- Scalp, Hair and Nails
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions
- Viral Skin Diseases
- Additional Skin Conditions