If the pics from Pippa Middleton’s wedding are correct, young Prince William seems to be getting on well with his younger sister; helping her with her floral arrangement and showing her how to throw the petals.
But , it could still go oh so wrong…..
While we’ve all ‘ooh’d and ‘aah’d over the gorgeous Princess Charlotte, the fact is that Prince George – like any first born – is having to get his head around having to vie for his parents’ attention.
Sibling rivalry is nothing new….nor is it just the domain of young children. Even much older siblings often fall out spectacularly…
In a career that’s spanned over 20 years, it’s no secret that singers Noel and Liam Gallagher haven’t always seen eye to eye – to put it mildly! In fact, on top of the fact that they’ve been involved in very public spats, it’s believed that their mutual loathing was the reason behind the end of their globally-successful band, Oasis.
Actress Julia Roberts and her actor brother Eric, meanwhile, reportedly haven’t spoken to each other for more than a decade. After Julia’s Oscar nomination for her role in the hit movie Erin Brockovitch, Eric accused her of betraying him by refusing to accept he’d suffered abused by their mother as a child.
So, how do you ensure that your kids get on well?
Most kids will adjust quite quickly to the arrival of a new baby brother or sister, but you can understand why some react badly to the event. The arrival of a baby can make the older child feel dethroned or displaced and this feeling is reinforced by the amount of time that his or her parents need to spend on the new arrival.
As kids begin to grow, age becomes a major factor in sibling rivalry. This is particularly true for younger children – particularly in nursery or primary schools. As kids move into their teens and consequently become more independent, the rivalry usually dissipates.
Sibling fighting also seems to be most intense when the age gap between the kids is two years or less. This is probably due to the fact that children of a similar age required – and demand! – similar amounts of attention from their parents.
So what are the common triggers for sibling squabbling?
In a nutshell? Sadly, anything. From the choice of TV channel to who gets to hold mum’s hand – the list is endless.
Although it’s not possible to totally avoid sibling rivalry, you can help to overcome potential obstacles by preparing the older child for the arrival of the new baby.
The best way of doing this is to involve older kids in the upcoming, exciting event by encouraging them to help prepare the new baby’s clothes and nursery. There’s a wealth of specialized books that have been written for kids about the arrival of a new brother or sister, so buy one of these and read it to your child. Make sure also that you continue to involve the older child after the baby’s arrival by allowing them to help with feeding or bath-time (supervised of course).
It’s a good idea to organise special, close times when you spend quality one-on-one time with your older child.
One of the main indicators that there’s trouble ahead is when you spot signs of jealousy in the older child. This can manifest itself by difficult and demanding behavior, clinging or whiny behavior and temper tantrums. Your child may begin to tease the baby or say nasty things about it. If the behavior continues for a period of time, it may lead to the older child becoming aggressive towards the baby.
In older kids this manifests itself in name calling, kicking and punching.
In dealing with sibling rivalry, firstly ask yourself whether you should get involved in trying to defuse the rivalry. Many parents adopt the ‘let them fight it out’ attitude, but it’s a major error to ignore extreme sibling rivalry and to dismiss it as ‘normal’.
The important thing to do is to teach your kids how to solve their problems and resolve their conflict. Turn negatives into positives by using incidents of sibling fighting to teach your kids how to solve conflict, to assert themselves and to appreciate other people’s perspectives.
Without your intervention there’s a risk that your child’s bullying behaviour may become habitual and may be repeated in school and outdoors. Nip it in the bud as early as possible.