Sibling Fighting - Reduce Sibling Rivalry by NOT Keeping Score
Recently, a much-anticipated game of mini-golf with my children soon turned into a disaster. There were smiles all round as we hit off from the first tee but the enjoyment factor was reduced to zero as my children's smiles were replaced by tears, put downs and whining.
The source of all this angst was the scorecard. Or to be more precise competitiveness over the scores. The pressure was on my eldest to make sure that his younger siblings did not turn in a better score than he did. The game was going disastrously for him and it appeared that a thrashing from a younger sister was imminent. And the youngest was reduced to tears as her score didn't quite match her expectations. I felt my blood begin to boil as the family activity disintegrated amongst the tears of a poorly-performing daughter, the put downs from the eldest and the whining recriminations of the middle child who was the butt of the put downs from the disgruntled eldest.
At the half-way point I had a rare a brain-wave. Rather than add my bit to this picture of disharmony by delivering a mini-lecture I decided to remove the source of the anxiety - the score card. "What do you say that we don't score any more?" I announced. "Good idea," they chorused. The relief was evident immediately. With the element of competition removed everyone was able to enjoy the game. Smiles replaced scowls and I swear I even heard them laughing.
While competition maybe good for business and promote better performance in sport it does little to promote harmony in a family. It is okay if there is a level playing field and everyone has a chance of succeeding. Or if it is contained to the sports field and the playground. But when it spills over into other areas of family life it can lead to arguments, lack of cooperation and other uncivil behaviour.
Rivalry is difficult to keep out of families as kids constantly compare themselves to each other even when there is no score to keep. However sometimes parents unwittingly promote competition, particularly when they praise children for their performance rather than their efforts.
When children see that results are important to parents in any area they will often give up if they can't perform as well as a sibling and look for another field where they can gain parental approval. The number of eldest and second-born children in families who excel in different fields is testament to the rivalry that so often takes place between kids. While most parents will claim that their approval of kids is not subject to performance in sport, schoolwork or any other area it is how kids perceive the situation that is most relevant. And kids constantly keep score and know where they rank compared to each other.
The use of sibling comparison is also very divisive. Comments from parents such as "Why don't you keep your bedroom clean like your sister?" or "Your brother does his homework every night. Why can't you?" maybe well-meaning but offering up the standards of one for another to aspire to just drives a wedge between siblings.
As my family game of mini golf showed it is hard to get away from competition. As soon as scores are involved invariably there will be comparisons. While kids must learn that they should be good losers and even better winners they also need to understand that parental approval does not depend on their performance.
It is also important to reinforce to kids that as human beings we all have our special areas of expertise. This point is easier to get across if a child has an obvious area of strength and can become a sore point until a child discovers where his or her talents lie.
Back to the family game of mini-golf. Shouldn't the kids be able to play against each other and cope with winning and losing, some performing better than others? Ideally yes, but it can be a great deal less stressful for everyone to remove the concept of competing and just have a bit of fun. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to see how they measure up - they do it every time they bring home a school report card - without adding another one.
In future I think I'll stick to something safe like beach cricket. Then again they keep scores in that, don't they?
Michael Grose is The Parent Coach. For seventeen years he has been helping parents deal with the rigours of raising kids and survive!! For information about Michael's Parent Coaching programs or just some fine advice and ideas to help you raise confident kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au
Teenagers Taking Risks
It can be hard being a parent with a teen going through what I term the 'I'm Invincible' phase. This is the phase when teens start doing scary and dangerous things (according to us parents) as a way of testing out their physical limits.
Stroller Safety Tips
Strollers offer a wonderful and convenient service to parents and caregivers. The first priority in choosing a stroller should be safety.
Celebrating Life with Children in September
Here are ten simple pleasures you can enjoy with your children this month.1.
Is Your Child Learning Nothing?
You send your child to school and the teachers teach them. If that is what you think, you could be way wrong ! While most teachers are good at presenting information to a class, learning happens ONLY if kids actually want to learn.
My Husband Prioritizes Making Money Above Family Time
"Money is tight, and my husband's obsessed with doing everything he can to make more of it. It's gotten so bad that he's lost interest in our daughter.
Discipline is a necessary part of parenting yet it makes most parents feel uncomfortable. Some of those old disciplinary phrases such as 'spare the rod and spoil the child', 'teach them a lesson' or 'set children straight' are enough to send shivers up the spine of any reasonable-minded parent.
What To Do When You Think Your Child Might Have AD/HD
AD/HD (attention deficit disorder) is one of the most common mental health disorders seen in childhood. Studies estimate that between 3-7% of all children have AD/HD: approximately 2 million children in the USA alone, or one child in every classroom.
Family Meetings 101
Family meetings provide opportunities for feelings to be aired and validated. They also allow younger children to feel they are an important part of the decision-making process when it comes to family vacations and other major and minor family functions.
Helping Your Child Develop
Here are some things that you can do to help your child develop.Show your child that you care about him and that you are dependable.
Kids Party Etiquette for Parents
Ever feel like you're out of the loop when it comes to the unspoken rules of kids party etiquette?Experienced Moms and Dads know the do's and don'ts of both hosting and attending kids parties.Here are some pearls of wisdom from these parent experts to those just starting out on the party circuit.
Vision: 20/20 Is Not Enough!
Now is an excellent time to have your child's vision checked. Don't be too quick to say, "My child's vision is fine: 20/20!" In many cases that is not enough.
Pregnancy and Excercising - 6 Reasons to Excercise During Pregnancy
Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health. Exercising during pregnancy can have additional benefits.
Pay Attention! Its Your Most Important Job
Anyone can become a parent; there are no tests or interviews to pass. Children can become parents, mentally disabled people - it's even possible to become a parent while in a coma!When my mother, who is a truly great parent still, became a mom the first time, she was 19 and had very little experience with children.
ADHD: Dialogue with a Non-Believer, Part Four
Dear Sir, It was with some interest that I read the article What You Should Know About Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward W. after having it handed to me by a member of our church.
Dads, Handle your Kids Mistakes
One of the most difficult parts of being a father is learning to accept your children's mistakes. It certainly can be easy to be loving, supportive, and helpful when your children are mistake-free, but most fathers who are paying attention don't find too many mistake-free periods of theirchildren's lives.
The Reticular Activating System, and its Role in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
In our last article about the neurology of ADHD we began to introduce the reader to the system in the brain known as the Reticular Activating System. The Reticular Activating System is the "attention center" in the brain.
Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Blackmail
Family decision-making is an intriguing phenomenon. Many factors become part of the decision-making process.
Surprise - Public School Class Size Doesnt Matter Very Much
School authorities often complain that classes are too large. They claim that teachers can't be expected to give their students the individual attention they need if there are too many students in the class.
Diagnosing ADHD in Your Child, an Introduction
Everyone in a private practice setting who works with children or adults is going to have their own opinion on how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADD or ADHD - should be diagnosed. Some clinics take the perspective that "more is good," and will recommend a large battery of tests, often costing many thousands of dollars.
The Courage to Be a Loving Parent
Most of us really don't like it when someone is angry at us. We don't like it when people go into resistance to helping us when we need help, instead of caring about us.
|home | site map|