Are you guilty of giving gifts to each sibling when it is only one child’s birthday? How about giving kids the same bedtimes? Or involving kids in the same activities? Dr. Kevin Leman says that sibling rivalry can be significantly diminished by ensuring that each child knows he holds a special, unique place in the family unit.
Celebrate differences. “What drives a kid away from sibling rivalry is allowing him to see that he is different, and embrace those differences,” he explains. It is okay to put into practice in your home that kids are treated differently. Age is a difference. Gender is a difference. Giftings and aptitudes are a difference.
“The state you live in will treat your kids differently,” notes Dr. Leman. “A 16-year-old gets to drive, a 14-year-old doesn’t. That’s life. And love is not diminished by this.”
Look for ways you can emphasize differences within your family. Where one is weak, another is strong. Even little things matter. At my house, the youngest has a knack for all things technological. He’s the one I call when I'm stuck, whether a computer freezes or I need to record a program on the DVR. Both my boys played baseball and basketball, but as they've gotten older, each has chosen to focus on the sport he was best suited for. God formed the family and populated it with people who are different. Celebrate that!