3 Steps To Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

With the birth of their second child, many parents make a common mistake and focus so much attention on the new baby, they forget their firstborn.

The older child is likely to view their new sibling with jealousy and contempt if this happens, feeling as if the baby is separating them from their parents and taking all the attention. This may cause the child to feel unloved and sibling rivalry is likely to occur as the two grow.

Try these three methods to keep your first child involved with the second and harbor love between them instead of resentment.

  • Encourage Bonding. Give your firstborn opportunities to be with the baby and touch the baby. Show them how to be gentle with the baby. Depending on how old your first child is, you might even let them hold the baby on the bed or sofa.
  • Encourage Participation. Let your older child watch when you feed and change the baby. When you go shopping for clothes as the baby grows, whether online or in a physical store, involve your first child by asking simple questions of the clothes you intend to buy. (Example: “Do you think your sister or brother would like this?“) If your child occupied with something else and does not want to offer an opinion, let them be. Do not force your child to involve themselves with the baby but rather make suggestions and respect the answer your child gives you.
  • Explain & Reassure. Sit down with your older child and tell them you still love them as much as you love the baby. If your child expresses resentment that the baby takes up time and has changed the normal routine of your lives, explain the baby is too little to care for itself and needs help. Go through baby photos and show your firstborn he or she was once a baby to.

If your firstborn is only a year or so, do not confuse them with long explanations but rather keep things simple when they ask about the baby. One year-old’s may not even mind a new siblings if YOU do not make a big deal out of it, but remember to keep them involved with the baby as they grow to help nourish the relationship between you and them, and to help minimize resentment.

If your firstborn frustrates you and you are struggling with the sudden transition from one child to two, see Three Ways To Resolve Tantrums and Three Ways To Keep Calm With Children for more creative ideas to solve the problems.

Happy parenting!

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24 thoughts on “3 Steps To Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

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  1. Yes, I so agree with this! My siblings and I all have such a close relationship and I really do believe it was because we were encouraged to bond when we were younger! I’m the oldest and being able to be included when my brother was born was so lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having only one child this was not an issue for me! Having said that, this is good advice and will benefit many parents. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was an only child to my mum and was raised as an only child, so this was never an issue for me growing up. But I can see how it might be. Parents often claim they don’t have favourites, but it’s likely they do as o e always gets better treatment than the other(s), so maybe taking these tips on board will help avoid that feeling in their children

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Parenting has its rewards and challenges. You are right on the spot that encouraging sibling bonding rather than forcing it is more fruitful because they are going to have different personalities.
    Sara xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These are all such great steps to avoiding sibling rivalry. Thankfully, my brother and I get along perfectly so we don’t have to worry about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I so needed to read this. Our oldest is 6 and our youngest is 1. Our oldest is starting to feel left out. I have been encouraging her by having her participate more. I told her you are your brothers second mommy. She owns it now and now feels so much more involved.

    xo Erica

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So helpful! I was an only child growing up, so I honestly am clueless about sibling relationships. I know I want another child (eventually) and I’m hoping their bond is strong. Great post and I’ll definitely use these tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such great advice! It’s still too early for me to think about having another kid, but I’ve always had an image of them getting along decently. Will have to remember your tips for when the time comes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Keep the image of your children getting along decently alive and, if you have another child, they will. It is all about creating positivity in your life and where better a place to start then in your mind?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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