Parenting: Sibling Rivalry and Divorce

As the years go by, we hear of more and more marriages ending in divorce. I believe it’s close to 50% now. Could we be contributing to that in how we handle sibling rivalry?

Think about it … what is the general go-to response when siblings (or any two children) are fighting? Separation. How often do we take the time necessary to completely work through the conflict with children so they grow their skill set? Rarely.

Sibling rivalry lets us know when children have run out of options for the conflict at hand. What they need in those moments is more tools in their toolbox. Unfortunately, instead, they find themselves in trouble, which often creates more frustration and anger. Without new tools, they feel stuck and continue resorting to an endless cycle of miscommunication and behavior issues. We are accidentally setting them up for failure.

Fast forward 20 or 30 years when they are married and running into similar situations, they will tend to repeat what they knowseparation. Thus, as a society, we are teaching our children to solve marital conflicts with divorce. You may ask:

~ How do we give children the skills to resolve differences?

~ How do we teach them to get along with challenging people?

Here are 5 key elements that will help:

  1. Start talking to them about their feelings, as young as possible.
  2. Teach them how to turn tantrums into words, by using words instead of anger when you are upset.
  3. Ask questions (and listen) so they feel heard and understood.
  4. Be patient with their learning curve.
  5. Forgive them so they learn to forgive others.

If you’d like assistance with tantrums, behavior issues, anger, frustration, etc., feel free to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation. Let’s respond to sibling rivalry with better communication skills for the next generation!  

Traci Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her practical and intuitive approach to parenting and can be reached at 951-240-1407 or

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