As a parent with more than one child, you can expect some sibling rivalry amongst your kids. Whether they are biological siblings or step-siblings, there will likely be some competition between them.
All kids want to be loved by their parents, and they want life to go their way. As more children are added to the family, your attention becomes more divided, and your kids have to learn how to live with each other.
Your children will likely bicker and get into spats throughout their childhood. That is to be expected. However, teen sibling rivalry can get out of control and even become dangerous. This is especially true if one of your children struggles with anger management issues. Teens with anger management problems can escalate regular sibling rivalry to a whole new level.
If you are worried that your son’s anger management issues are getting out of hand, he may benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school for troubled teens. Some families consider a teen boot camp or military school, but those schools don’t address the root of anger issues. By getting professional intervention and learning positive coping skills, your teen can learn how to interact appropriately with his other family members.
Why is sibling rivalry a problem?
Sibling rivalry happens for a few reasons:
Kids want their parents’ attention.
Kids want to get their way all of the time.
Kids want to be acknowledged for who they are as an individual.
In most homes, having siblings gets in the way of accomplishing all of these goals. When you have siblings, you have to share your parents’ attention. You definitely won’t get your way all the time, and you will probably get compared to, or lumped in with, your siblings.
At home and school, you’re going to have to acknowledge your siblings. They are going to be a defining part of your life whether you like it or not.
By learning how to share with their siblings and react appropriately when they feel jealous, kids learn critical social skills they’ll need for life. Even as adults, we won’t get our way all of the time, and we’ll have to share the world with other people. It can be frustrating, but knowing how to live with other people and share space is an essential life skill.
How to address teen sibling rivalry
As the parent in the home, it’s your job to help your children learn how to work together and get along. That’s not an easy job! When sibling rivalry gets out of control, home life is anything but peaceful.
Your kids are probably going to argue with each other, especially during their teen years. As they get older and start branching out on their own a little more, they’re going to want more space. They don’t want their sibling to tag along on their outings, and they don’t want to deal with their sibling’s annoying behavior.
As your kids are growing up, there are a few things that you can do to help calm the fighting:
Set clear rules regarding arguing. Make sure that your kids know what type of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. Everyone gets angry from time to time, but it’s how you act when you’re angry that matters. Let your kids know what crosses the line when it comes to arguing and acting in anger.
Set clear rules for button-pushing. Your kids know exactly how to annoy each other. They know all the little nuances of pushing each other’s buttons and making each other angry. By setting rules to regulate purposefully annoying behavior, you let your kids know that you’re looking out for them.
Set clear consequences for breaking the rules. Your kids need to know what to expect if they let their anger get away from them. Encourage them to use appropriate calming techniques to keep their anger controlled but have consequences in place if they lose their temper.
Hold your kids equally accountable. Don’t play favorites with your kids. If one of them is going to get in trouble for losing their temper, the other should as well. The rules for arguing and button-pushing need to apply to both kids. If your kids feel like you’re unfair by holding them to different standards, their rivalry could escalate.
Don’t get in the middle of it. Your kids want your attention, and they want you to take their side. However, they need to learn how to manage their behavior and handle disagreements on their own. Hold them accountable for their actions during their disagreements, but don’t get in the middle of it by solving it for them.
If your teen son struggles with emotional regulation, he might have a tough time with sibling rivalry. Many teens who don’t know how to control their emotions get upset easily and respond more aggressively than they should. These teens need additional support in learning to identify and regulate their emotions. At Sundance Canyon Academy, our students receive the individualized support they need to develop emotionally. Contact us today for more information about our school.