Excited to dig into sibling rivalry today on the Ask Casey episode!!
A listener wrote in:
My kids - particularly my 8 and 9 yo - feel like they have to compete with each other all the time. Every time one does something/gets something different from the other, they tend to mention to the other almost like a taunt. I think on one hand they want their sibling to be happy for them (like mom or dad would be), and on the other hand, I think they want to show how much more special they are.
Even if it is innocent, the other kid will still take it as a put down as if it's expected and react with shock, become grudgingly upset, and whining. It is so annoying and constant. It even goes so far as every question I ask has to be directed at one individual bc they will get upset over who answers first. They will even just smile in a nonverbal taunting sort of way to get the other one upset.
This happens anytime of day from when they first get up to evening. It happens at home, in the car, in the store. They don't usually do it if there are other kids their age or a little older around - I think bc they get embarrassed. I've seen them snap out of it instantly. It seems to happen less at bedtime maybe because of routine and parent led family time?
When it happens my physical response is to get tense in my face and jaw, my breath gets short, and then I feel tension in my shoulders. Emotionally, I start to feel exasperated.
Yes, this is all probably normal on some level and we are working deliberately to include special/individual child led time with each kid. Bugs and wishes has helped bc they feel like others hear them and respect them more. Just looking for the next step to take it to the next level.
We don't want to foster competition in our family we value working together and supporting one another. I want them to be able to be happy for their sibling without feeling less. I feel like just writing this out is helping form some ideas to try, but I would love to hear yours as I'm sure mine are not the only kids who tend to do this. (I was fiercely and painfully competitive with my sister growing up).
Resources for parenting siblings: