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Can You Deal with Your Youngsters’s 3,351 Conflicts?

April 22, 2020
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Source: Jordan Whitt / Unsplash

Few would argue that a second or third child increases parents' time pressure and stress. With the arrival of a new baby, previous routines go out the window. Many parents believe that as children age, their lives become easier to manage. This is a misunderstanding simply because they do not take into account other, less discussed aspects of sibling life - jealousy, the pursuit of parental attention, the feeling of privilege, potential bullying and the often endless arguments.

Although parents try to promote affection and friendship among their children, many of these efforts and good intentions go unnoticed. The number of battles and the level of ridicule and stress siblings bring to families can be devastating and intimidating.

In a study, the researchers found that "sibling relationships have a significant and lasting impact on children's development". Disagreements can be more than just a small argument that can have lifelong effects. The "Bullying in the Family: Bullying of Siblings" study may surprise parents who believe that arguing beyond the occasional spit is natural and not alarming for siblings. The study reported that "up to 40 percent are exposed to sibling bullying every week, a repeated and harmful form of intra-family aggression".

The authors also point out that sibling bullying can increase the likelihood of peer bullying and is “independently associated with simultaneous and early emotional problems in adults, including stress, depression, and self-harm. The effects appear to be cumulative, as children who are bullied by both siblings and peers have greatly increased emotional problems compared to children who are bullied only by siblings or peers, probably because they have no safe place to Escape bullying. "

Understandably, parents don't want to acknowledge that siblings treat themselves maliciously, even when the fighting is alarmingly intense. Parents tend to ignore or rationalize the situation by telling themselves that children will be children, they didn't mean it, or they'll outgrow the struggles. Parents want to believe that their children's behavior is a normal part of growing up.

74 percent of siblings push or push their brothers and sisters, and 40 percent go further: they kick, hit and bite their siblings. 85 percent of siblings are regularly verbally aggressive with their siblings.

A collision every 10 minutes

Parents tend to minimize sibling conflicts. Perhaps most believe that they will solve themselves, and some do. In many families, however, the quarrel between siblings is enough to affect relationships and morals for years to come. In the study “Influence of Parents and Siblings on the Quality of Conflict Behavior in Children During Preschool Years”, the researchers followed preschool siblings in 37 families with two children over a period of two years. They watched when the children were two and four years old and again when they were four and six years old.

The conflicts averaged a whopping 3,351 per family. That amazing number is about six clashes per hour, or about one clash every 10 minutes for the younger children.

The fighting decreased to four an hour when the children were older, but the conflicts of the older children lasted longer. In these disagreements, the children used threats, jokes, and physical aggression. The parents intervened in about half of the cases, but the parent's intervention does not necessarily affect the children's conflict resolution behavior.

People who defend difficult sibling relationships quickly argue that children will most likely learn to get along. This study showed that tensions do not necessarily resolve over time - they change. As children get older and have better verbal skills and maturity, their ability to resolve differences improves, but so does the possibility of stronger opposition. The argument is often constant: "It's my turn", "Give it back or" It's mine "protrudes from the lungs of one or both children through the house, together with:" How is it that she stays up later? I hate them. "Siblings do not have to behave as well as friends, and often they are not.

Siblings may never find a way to exist without tension. Early rivalries can develop into envy among teenagers and adults.

When teenagers fight

What started out small as a toddler - perhaps with a fight for a toy - escalated into a continuing competition for school grades or soccer goals. In some families, competitiveness obscures everything, even if the children are of different ages and in different teams or have completely different interests.

When children are teenagers, jealousy can become a daily business. Angry siblings say things like, "He's more popular," "My sister is much prettier," "She'll go to college better than me," "He's got a better job," "My sister is richer," "My brother is good in everything that concerns him. ”Parents see, hear and wonder what has caused such hostility between children who love them very much.

A lot of evidence supports the idea that disagreements and arguments between siblings are effective in teaching children to take care of themselves in the larger world. For some children this may be true, for others the struggle against siblings only leads to distress and turmoil - and in the worst case to persistent verbal abuse and physical beatings. Combative nature leaves deep emotional - and sometimes physical - scars.

Don't ignore complaints

These early conflicts and bullying behaviors can have lasting effects. The study “Family Dynamics and Wellbeing of Young Adults: The Mediating Role of Bullying in Siblings” found that sibling bullying was associated with a lower sense of competence, self-esteem and life satisfaction for the victim, more internalized problems. "

Parents want to pay close attention to how children interact and take action to intervene when indicated. It is important to take differences of opinion and bullying between siblings as seriously as bullying by peers in school and on social media - and its prevention - today.

Copyright @ 2019 by Susan Newman

Facebook picture: MNStudio / Shutterstock

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