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How you might be causing your kids to resent each other

How to become aware of the things that you do that might be causing your kids to fight each other.

My two kids (6 year old boy and 4 year old girl) have an intense rivalry going on.

One moment they are playing quietly together, then the next I hear "Give me back my piece" and "No, it is mine" and then "Don't kick me!" and by the time I get there I need to break up a cage fight.

I want my kids to get along, both for my own sanity, and also because having a strong relationship with your sibling is so important throughout your life.

While researching this problem, I found an excellent book about how to help kids get along, called Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

They explain that often parents act in certain ways that cause our kids to start to resent each other.

For example, a big problem that damages sibling relationships is when we cast our kids in roles by age or by gender. We expect the eldest to "act his age", and spoil the youngest.

Now that I know about this, I catch myself often blaming my son when I hear them fight, because he is the oldest and "should know better". But then, when I take the time to assess the situation, I find that my daughter just as often starts the fights.

Another big problem is making comparisons between children. Saying things like "Why can’t you hang eat with your knife and fork like your sister?" not only makes your kid feel bad, but it also makes them resent their sibling.

According to Adele, often these behaviors can create rifts between siblings that can cause them to resent each other even when they are adults, leading to fractured families and estranged siblings.

The good news is that the more aware you become of these behaviors, the easier to becomes to stop doing them, and the better your kids will get along.