“As children, my sister and I were so jealous of each other,” said Claire, as we sipped our lattes. “I thought my sister was so much more beautiful than me.”

I raised my eyebrow. In my mind how could my friend not have seen her beauty. Claire has a fair complexion, smooth blond hair and neat features, and she has a radiance that makes me smile just thinking about her.

“My sister had dark curly hair, dark, dark eyes. I thought I looked insipid compared to her. I was so envious of her looks. We fought most of our childhood,” she sighed. “Imagine – all those years we could have had a great sibling relationship. It was only when we got to be adults that we talked it through and discovered we were both envious of each other’s looks.”

So many parents despair because of their children’s constant bickering and fighting. Perhaps you are a parent in that situation too, concerned about the sibling rivalry in your home – perhaps you are wondering how to respond to sibling jealousy.

Three Key Aspects to Counteract Sibling Jealousy

1. Create Opportunity to Listen to How Your Children Are Feeling

To stop the fighting we need to think about what might going on underneath the surface that is causing the turmoil. Like adults, children are influenced by the thoughts they dwell on. They are not likely to respond in a kind, compassionate manner when they are thinking:

“She’s prettier than me.”

“He’s better at sport than me.”

“She’s cleverer than me.”

“Mum and Dad love her more than me.”

“Just because she’s the baby, they let her get away with it.”

Very often when anger surfaces there are feelings of fear or disappointment underneath the blanket of the aggressive behaviour. These emotions are fueled by envious, or jealous thoughts. Until we acknowledge and respond to our children’s feelings and thoughts, we are likely to find ourselves dealing with the fallout of sibling rivalry. The thing is, jealous thoughts are like woodborers – if they are ignored, they slowly erode the fabric of the relationship.

“Jealousy and envy distort the truth of what is essential for satisfaction or genuine happiness in life.”

Sibling Envy

This quote is from Normile and Alley’s book “Overcoming Envy and Jealousy Therapy” 

When sibling rivalry erupts your children need you to help them to restore equilibrium. Focus on creating a safe space where your children can process what’s going on for them. To quote Dr Dan Siegel: “Connection calms.”

2. Help your children to think about what their envy might be telling them

Children often feel frustrated, irritable or fearful because they imagine they are at a disadvantage to the other.

Think about the expression we hear kids use – “I’ll get even!”

This statement says so much  – when there is sibling rivalry at least one child is not feeling equal to the other.

Perhaps your child’s envy is tied in more with admiration of his sibling than a feeling of resentment.

We can’t stop the envy, but imagine if we could help our children to take ownership of their envy and to turn this around to be a helpful tool. Have you come across the term “frenvy”? It’s a term to describe “friend envy” – that sometimes we envy the character traits or achievements of the very ones we like. When we listen supportively we can help our children figure out what their envy is really about, and it can spur them on: “If she can do it I can too!” We can help them turn the green-eyed monster into a helpful ally – to be the best they can be.

3. Build your children’s self esteem

When there is strong sibling rivalry it is often connected to low self esteem. A key aspect to easing sibling rivalry is to build your children’s self esteem.

“Jealousy and emptiness are related, not twins, but born of the same emptiness within you.” Normile and Alley

To discover practical ways to boost children’s self esteem see 7 Useful Tips On How to Build Self Esteem In Your Child.

Bringing positive change to levels of self esteem and softening the intensity of sibling rivalry is a long steady haul to healthier, happier relationships. And, as parents, our consistency counts.

"creation calms." Dr Dan Siegel

Photos Acknowledgement: © Redbaron | Dreamstime.com

What are your thoughts? If you have any questions or comments about sibling envy please post them below.

 

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Last edited August 04th 2017

Consistent in your actions

 Every parent wants to be a ‘good parent’ – but what’s needed?

‘Any area in your life that has inconsistent results is an area where you have not made a decision to be consistent in your actions.’ Jeanine Blackwell

I love this quote. It challenges me in my work as a soulpreneur and coach. But is it true when it comes to effective Parenting? What does it take to be the parent you want to be? If consistency leads to awesome results in the workplace is the same true for parenting? If I am consistent in my actions as a parent will I get consistent results? I’d love to believe it, but when it comes to parenting, whether you are parenting a toddler or parenting a teenager – think again!

As humans, consistency isn’t always a natural way of being. Circumstances change. Family dynamics change. People change. Especially little people. And when change happens there isn’t going to be a consistency in result. There will always be challenges and inconsistencies in raising children. Every child is different, so every parenting experience is different. And as our children move through different developmental stages the experience and the challenges are different. As one mum said, ‘Every time I think I have this parenting thing sorted, my child pulls the rug out from under my feet.’

So  – how to be a ‘Good Parent’?

We can judge ourselves that we’re not being ‘good’ parents when things don’t go smoothly, but we need to hold in mind that we’re in the job for the long haul. There will be ups and downs, particularly as we move through times of change. Consistency in our parenting can be really hard.

So does this mean, as parents, we should forget about consistency? No! Consistency matters if we want to be the parents our children need.

Consistency matters – particularly in the things that are so hard to measure:

Patience.  Kindness. Awareness. Believing in your child.

Patience, kindness, awareness, believing in your child

 

Consistency matters particularly in the moments when no-one else is looking:

–  those moments when you might be tempted to yell or scream at the kids

– those moments when you might be tempted to use sarcasm

– those moments when you might be tempted to say ‘Whatever!’ rather than do the hard work of conscious parenting

Does that mean you’ll see consistent parenting results? In the short term, probably not! You’ll still ride the roller coaster of everyday parenting, with all its wild ups and downs and unexpected corners. But in the long term, consistency pays off every time. Look around you and notice the families whose children have grown into fabulous young adults. Warm, caring, compassionate, responsible young people invariably have warm, caring, compassionate, responsible parents.

Consistency pays.

We may have different parenting styles, but consistency always matters. consistency matters as much in the world of parenting as in the world of the entrepeneur.

What three qualities or values do you choose to consistently model to your children? It doesn’t come by chance. It comes from a conscious decision.

So now it’s your turn to challenge your online community. What three values did you choose?  Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Consistent in your actions

  

Needing support to be the parent you want to be?  Discover more about Parent Coaching.

 

 

Last edited June 04th 2017

Join Parenting Expert Val Mullally in Moville this weekend.

Fri 4 Nov 7:30 – 9 pm  ‘Meeting Your Child’s Deepest Emotional Needs’

Sat 5 Nov ‘Responding to Children’s Challenging Behaviour’ 

Moville Methodist Hall 

Open to all parents of children aged 3 to 12 years

(grandparents and other child-carers also welcome)

 

 

 

 

Last edited November 01st 2016

Grab this Autumn Promo now!

Whoohoo  –  60% savings now on Online Parenting Course by Parenting Expert Val Mullally

Usual price $87 – now only $34. (One week only Halloween Special  – so grab it while you can!)

Want to get a flavour of this awesome opportunity to discover key Parenting insights, tools and tips? to create  happier home.    Watch the free section nowAutumn Sale  - Online Parenting course

Last edited October 28th 2016

What I wish I'd known when my kids were youngImagine – significantly lowering the stress level in your home, and racheting up the Happiness factor.
When things aren’t going smoothly that can seem like an impossible dream. Here’s my own story of how my vision of parenting fell apart and what happened next.

It took a near melt-down in my relationship with my then-teenage son for me to realize that being a ‘good parent’ wasn’t working. I was a qualified, experienced teacher. I thought I knew how to handle kids but my relationship with my then-teenage son was as scratchy as wire-wool on sunburnt skin. I kept trying to make him ‘be good’ but the more I insisted, the more he resisted.
I thought my parenting job was to change him, but he was a ‘stubborn child’.
But crisis forced me to think differently and do differently.
His challenging behaviour was clearly telling me my parenting style wasn’t working.
I began to realise – slowly! – that the only person I could change was myself!
But I felt overwhelmed.
How could I be anything other than what I was?
How could I do the work of being the parent my child needed to be (instead of the parent who tried to control)?
It seemed an impossible task.

Let me tell you my ‘AHA’ moment.
At that time (this is quite a few years ago!) they had discovered the wreck of the Titanic. I was listening to a radio interview where they said that if the Titanic had changed her course, just two or three degrees when she first hit chilly waters, she would have sailed safely into harbour.
Two or three degrees!
That would have felt like nothing on such a huge ship – but it would have made all the difference.
The lights went on for me.
I was doing a pretty good job as a parent. I just needed to make that 2 or 3 degree shift that would sail us back to warm waters.

It took me time. It took all of us patience. It wasn’t always easy. But we got there.
I didn’t know the term ‘Mindful Parent’ then, but I was taking the first steps on that journey.

The good news is that, to be the parent you’d love to be, it doesn’t take a 180 degree turn-around.
It’s the small shifts in the everyday interactions that are key.
And I’d love to share with you the key insights and practical tools I’ve discovered. The 2 or 3 degrees that can make all the difference in your relationships.

Why not grab a mug of coffee and take twelve minutes to watch this little video.

It’s a section from my ‘BEHAVE’  Online Parenting Course. I wish I’d known this when my kids were young.

My family experienced a lot of frustration and heartache while I slowly realised that trying to get my kid to behave wasn’t working. I’d love to save you the tears and the frustration that it cost me – not to mention any yelling, grumbling or nagging!

What I wish I'd known when my kids were young My AHA moment was many years ago. I’ve got a great relationship with my son, who now has children of his own – and I’ve made it my life’s work to discover what’s needed to create happier homes.  My crisis became my opportunity.

It took me years to figure out what it TAKES to create a happy family.

That’s why I developed the ‘BEHAVE’ Online Parenting Course to give you the key insights and the practical tools I’ve discovered to create a more enjoyable and fulfilling family life, without having to endure the long and often painful journey I experienced. If I’d learnt these core principles when my kids were young, family life would have been so much easier, and happier, for us all.

I’m not saying you’ll have a ‘perfect’ family – life isn’t perfect, but it’s meant to be fun.

I’d love to hear YOUR questions and comments: what’s the parenting challenge you’re facing?

 

Last edited August 20th 2016