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Sibling Rivalry

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Preparing for a newborn

Be prepared for a variety of reactions from your older child when a newborn joins your family. It is normal for an older child to feel jealous and displaced when you have another baby. The older sibling may go back to thumb-sucking, abandon potty training, or display other similar behaviors. These acts are children's unconscious efforts to take attention away from the newborn and focus it back on themselves.

Plan for and respond to sibling rivalry before your baby is born with these tips:

After your baby is born, try some of the following suggestions:

In time and given the right encouragement, your older child will learn how to deal with his or her feelings toward a new baby sister or brother, to share, to feel responsible for other family members, and to get along with others.

Rivalry between older children

Older children have an intense need to measure up at home and get positive feedback from their parents. Often conflict arises because children feel they are competing with their siblings for this attention. Be sensitive to these often subtle struggles between siblings. And avoid comparing your children to each other.

If there is a war going on between the siblings in your house, don't be discouraged. Dealing with this conflict often serves as a useful training exercise in which siblings gain real-life experience in overcoming problems.

Like much of parenting, responding to sibling rivalry involves walking a fine line. In this case, parents might allow siblings to work out problems on their own, while also making sure that one sibling is not taking advantage of the other.


Credits for Sibling Rivalry

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Louis Pellegrino MD - Developmental Pediatrics


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