Coping with sibling rivalry

Sibling ‘rivalry’ is a fact of life in all families. It is crucial that children learn how to cope with disputes and sibling squabbles, as this is an important way for them to learn how to deal with other forms of conflict.

Some things that might help

  • Note times they are not getting along. Plan separate activities or increased supervision during these times.
  • Teach them how to play and interact. Show them the basics - how to share, take turns, and wait.
  • Increase your presence and supervision during times you know they find the hardest.
  • Play with them regularly. Take them outside and teach them games. Encourage physical activity.
  • Minimise unstructured time.
  • Recognise and highlight when they are getting along or solve their own conflict.
  • Provide positive feedback and praise so they learn what you want them to do.

Seek support

Caring for a sibling group can be exhausting. Don’t feel you need to do everything yourself. Your care team is an important resource for you to talk to. Don’t delay asking for help for serious sibling difficulties. If you feel the situation is having an increasingly negative impact on other children in the family, professional intervention may be needed.

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To become a foster carer your ability to care and nurture a child is what really matters.
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