Siblings Rivalry…and how to deal with it according to my parents

The best person to learn on how to raise your children are definitely from your parents, no books can actually teach you how to do that except your own parents. Be it a good parents, or a bad one, they will teach us something and its up to us to choose the way we want to grow up as.

So no matter how you think you are not like your parents, you are at least in some way does resemble if not in how you look but do resemble some traits of our parents.

Children see, children do, children be.

And that is who we will always be to their parents, children even if some of them became best friends.

Now that my niece have a baby brother, she tend to throw tantrums, sometimes at the smallest thing that you get all puzzled and don’t know what to do in such situation. She cries easily over little things that don’t matter much to her before this, and wants you to hug her,clings to you most of the time and extra manja with you.

But on a bad day, she tend to be a bit grouchy and angry to the point she would scream at you whenever she refuse to eat or do something you ask, even if you were asking politely. Sometimes, she even talks back, when actually it means that she have a mind of her own now, because I realize that sometimes she actually made a point when she speaks up her mind about certain things that she doesn’t want to do.

Like sometimes she doesn’t want to eat, not because she was throwing some tantrums, but because she already sneak up the fridge and eat something from the fridge. So, when that happens,I will wait for a few hours later, until she ask for food. I was told by my parents that children have small stomach, they will be hungry every now and then so thats why they stock up the fridge to make sure there’s always food within her reach when she opens the fridge.

Sometimes when she purposely refuse to eat, which only if I was there most of the time with her, I will switch on the cartoon and sneak in some rice when she was busy focusing, by then, she don’t even realize what goes into her mouth as long as her eyes are fixed on the tv lol!

But some times, she can really test your patience the older she gets. It was quite a headache for me, because I’m not that experienced when it comes to children. In any way, I am just her aunt so it took me some time to learn about dealing with children. So it always fascinates me how much I can learn from children, rather than me teaching them.

So whenever I have some trouble in dealing with my niece, I always ask my mom about how they dealt with us in such condition. So this time it was about siblings rivalry. After all, me and my lil bro are quite tough competitor back then lol!

So these were what I learn from them and how they dealt with us:

1) Ignore tantrums

Its not that my mom was ignoring us, or the tantrums, but its her way not to give attention to bad attitude. Because all children wants is attention so when we pay attention to their tantrums, it gives them the impression that, every time they are bad or throw any tantrums , they will get attention.

Just like naughty children, or even in teenagers who skips class, or rebel on their parents, its actually their way to grab their parents attention.

So what she did was, ignore the tantrums, so that we get the impression that when we throw any tantrums, esp the bad ones, you will be ignored and you will naturally not try that tactic. But if you do good things or at your best behaviour, you get more attention and encouragement.

Even my aunt was surprised by the level of patience she was towards us. Unknowingly, that is actually reverse psychology.

2) Distractions.

Both my parents said the same thing when I ask the same question separately. Instead of letting my niece go on with her tantrums, my father will ask her to do something else so that she will forget why she was angry. Sometimes they will play with the ball which is her fave game, or like just now, they went for a walk to make the shadow under the street lamps.

3) Don’t say ‘No’ right way, say ‘Not Yet’ or ‘We will continue this again after this, okay?’

This happens whenever she was having fun playing something or watching something and you ask her to stop. Obviously she wouldn’t, and by this age, she will want a  reason why she have to stop and you have to justify your reasons. If you can’t come up with a good reason, she will just ignore you and continue playing.

So, the best way is to tell her that she can continue this again after she took a shower, or eat her food, and that you will still be there to play with her once she have done what she was asked to do.

Even sometimes, when we had to go out, she cries when you have to go. So you have to tell her that you are not going away, but you will come back and play with her again.

4) Alternative activity

Just like us, they don’t like to be forced to do something. So give them an alternative to do something else, if they don’t want to do something. Or be creative enough to make them do something voluntarily, like instead of asking them to clean up their toys, make a game on how fast they can beat you to pick up all the toys. Turn things around by making things look fun and a game to them.

Per say, when my niece was sitting on the floor, she refuse to move to the carpet instead. Don’t use words like ‘because i said so’, or act in such way that emulates it, try to provide an alternative for them to do something better than that. So since she insisted to sit on the floor, what I did was tell her to sit on the ‘Island’. And instantly she moves to the ‘Island’ thinking that if she sat on the floor, she will be sitting on the ‘water’. Though its been a while since I use my imagination, that kinda helps me get my mind work more creative. She pretty much help to remind me of how imaginative I was as a kid, being an adult somehow made you less creative than you used to be when you were a kid. She manage to bring out the kid in me now that I have started some story telling or puppet talking with her whenever I try to soothe her. hehe

5) Explain ‘Why’

Never underestimate the capacity of children to understand just because they are years younger than you, sometimes they can surprise you on how easy they can understand something you thought were complicated to understand but they can grasp it.

I always believe that children nowadays mature quickly when they are surrounded by adults and treated equally the same, which means, no matter how cute we think they say it, avoid ‘baby talk’ with them. It will help them to get the words they are supposed to say better and faster. This was how my niece were able to talk within a year since she was born, but keep in mind that children’s ability to talk differs so its okay if they are taking some time to form their words.

Never doubt their potential and try to introduce some words to them every day. And if they say it wrong, don’t say to them they got it wrong, just continue saying the words until they got it right next time but don’t force them to get it right but simply move on to the next word. Some words may be hard for them to pronounce it. My niece went from ‘Na’ for quite sometime before she can pronounce ‘Banana’ correctly, and I kinda miss hearing her saying ‘Na’ though.

You be surprised by how easy they get some words, and do pronounce it correctly or they be stuck with the wrong pronunciation for quite some time  esp if you baby talk them.


Now there’s a long list for such topic, but I think that was the five key point that I think I can share for now. The best way to learn how to do that is to raise one

“There is no experience like having children…If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children” – Morrie Schwartz

…….or have a niece/nephew if you are still single hehe


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