Sibling rivalry

Gordon Neufeld, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how to decrease the problems in families that come from sibling rivalry
Parenting Tips | How To Resolve Sibling Rivalry
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

Sibling rivalry

Sibling conflict or sibling rivalry, as it is often called, is a very common problem. We exacerbate it by treating our children as equals. We think we are doing them a favor, but the attachment processes don't work that way. They always have to place children who are attaching to each other, one in the dominant mode and the other in the dependent mode. Of course, this renders huge competition between kids. It aggravates the problem. "Mom, he's bossing me around and won't do what he's told." You have all kinds of problems in the relationship between them. In traditional societies, families are ordered very carefully. In some societies, the children's names represent their birth order. One is perceived to be the answer to the other, instead of equals. The way children should interact with each other in a family is that they all should be orbiting around the parents. The parents should be the ones that matter most. You can think of a planets and the universe. What is the secret to harmony in the universe? If the planets were orbiting each other, there would be chaos. They would be smashing into each other. The planets need to orbit around the sun. First of all, that is very important. You are going to be able to orchestrate the behavior of your children much better if both of them are orbiting around you rather than each other. The other thing is match making. If you match make, even from a two year old to a baby, the brother is the answer to the little sister. One becomes the answer to the other. If they move to be the answer to the other, they move to take care of each other, to consider each other, rather than to compete with each other. If we got those kinds of things right, we would have much less problems with sibling rivalry.

Gordon Neufeld, PhD Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how to decrease the problems in families that come from sibling rivalry


Expert Bio

More from Expert

Gordon Neufeld, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author, Hold On to Your Kids and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a worldwide organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather of three.

More Parenting Videos from Gordon Neufeld, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter