How to deal with jealousy between brother and sister? 🤯

by | July 27, 2022 | Parenting 0 comments

This article is written by Julie, parenting coach on Noo Family.
Discover the coaching offered by Julie on her profile page.

Portrait of Julie, online parenting coach

Brother-sister jealousy: rivalry is most often created as a result of negative emotions.Brothers and sisters can be accomplices or rivals, depending on the day and the mood. Best friends, or best enemies!

Conflicts in a sibling group usually arise from negative emotions: jealousy, or feelings of injustice. But more than anything, it is the harmful effects of comparison that will increase the rivalry between your children.

Certain periods are also more conducive to jealousy and anger: the arrival of a second baby, becoming a big brother, becoming a big sisterThe arrival of a second baby, becoming a big brother or sister, can accentuate the jealousy of the older child, aggressiveness.

Although it is not pleasant to read or hear (and far be it from me to make you feel guilty!), our share of responsibility as parents is engaged. We must understand that the way we give each child his place, and legitimize certain behaviors and needs rather than others will affect the inter-relationship of our children.

Although jealousy and disputes between brothers and sisters are always painful, they are often trivialised as a more or less obligatory part of life.

the causes of conflicts between adult brothers and sisters often have their origin in wounds dating from childhood.

To avoid long-term negative consequences on the balance of your family, (and incidentally to find a more serene climate 🙃), it is better to avoid letting jealousy between brother and sister take hold!

So, brother and sister conflict, what to do? I like to say it's never too late to do it right 🙂

So here I share with you what I think are the first 6 essential points to this restructuring of the sibling relationship.

# My testimony on brother-sister jealousy as a mother and parenting coach


Being a mom is a significant advantage when working as a parenting coach 👩👧👦

In particular to really understand the situations that parents face (it's better 😉 ). But also to put into practice the educational methods that I transmit.

My girls are 17 months apart.
The eldest walked at 11.5 months and all her first times were easy for her. Her little sister, on the other hand, did not walk until she was 18 months old, as she refused to stand up and kept asking for her arms.

By leaving my big one in the autonomy since she managed it very well alone and seemed peaceful, and by answering the fusional need of my second, I intensified - without knowing it - this jealousy between sisters. So it started very early.

And I didn't stop there. Later, as she grew up, I would say to my youngest daughter: "Look at how your sister does it, that's the way to do it, follow her example!Look at how your sister does it, that's how you should do it, take a leaf out of her book! "

Or I would say to the older one: "Be careful with your little sister, she is more fragile than you, she is still a baby!", "Look, your sister has finished her whole plate before you, even though she is smaller than you, etc.

Until a few years ago, when I became aware of all this and trained myself inpositive educationamong others...

The risk with sibling jealousy is that childhood wounds can be difficult to overcome as an adult. Most adults who have a difficult sibling relationship know how complicated it can be to rebuild the bond.

Today, my daughters are teenagers and pre-teens.

And although there are still some strong tensions between them at times (also linked to their stage of personal and physiological development), they finally have real moments of pure complicity, huge laughs, and can count on each other, they finally have real moments of pure complicity, huge laughs, and can count on each other. 😍

Their daddy doesn't share my educational dynamic at the moment (I don't despair 😊) and tends, unconsciously, to still compare them a lot. Nevertheless, what I am establishing with them is true and lasting...

Mind you, I didn't get there in a day! 

I admit it, this required me to a great questioning of myself and a period of time when I was like:
"I'm really too bad, I didn't do anything right. Because of me, they will develop a bad relationship with each other "...

But once I got my head around it, I gradually applied simple and concrete tools that led to the result I have today.

1 | Seek fairness rather than absolute equality


Our children are different, so they have different needs. 

Giving systematically as much to one child as to the other does not make you a fair parent, quite the contrary. In fact, if you observe carefully, giving the same to your children does not prevent them from showing up!

Yes, but! You will tell me that treating children differently often leads to conflict. So how can we be fair?

Being fair means respecting the specific needs of each child.

For example, my older child can stay up later, but she also has more responsibilities! If at mealtimes one of your children asks for more pasta and the other shows that he still wants some, ask him if he is still hungry. They finish what they have first and then, if they are still hungry, they will be served again.

Your children will feel heard in their need and will see you as a fairer parent.

To go further:

I recommend this book on jealousy and rivalry between brothers and sisters : "Brothers / sisters without rivalry" by Isabelle Filliozat. (A book that does not solve everything, but that will give you some tools of understanding).

Another resource on the subject:
Brothers and Sisters Without Rivalry d'Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.


2 | How to avoid conflicts between brothers and sisters?
Bickering is okay, but there are limits!


They can't help it! You can't necessarily stop them from fighting, but you can set a framework, explain the basics.

"Ok, you have the right to disagree, but violence with words or blows is forbidden!". Followed by: " I trust you to find a way to talk to you with respect ".

It is also possible to separate them physically (gently), and to return to the subject once the anger has subsided.... And yes, the proof is in the pudding in human relationships, even adult ones, a conflict can never be settled on the spot!


3 | Sibling relationships: are we avoiding intervention?🤔👩👧👦


If we look for a guilty party or take sides, we create a clan...
Those who feel guilty will seek revenge or may feel stigmatised!

The solution? Keep it factual.

How do you do this? By describing what you see, without judging or analysing:

  • "I see two children crossing the line!"
  • "I see two children shouting at each other"
  • "I see children who use violent gestures, is it right to be violent?"

Avoid putting labels on them:
"It's always the same one who starts", "You stop always bothering your brother/sister" ...

4 | Sibling Rivalry:


  • "If you finish your plate, you will have a dessert"
  • "If you go in the jar, you'll get a candy"
  • "If you eat with your fork, you get a chocolate"
  • "The first one in bed won"...

Putting them in competition with each other gives results in the short term, but in the long term, they are mainly put in competition with each other!

5 | Sibling jealousy: the effectiveness of positive reinforcement 😊


It is about encouraging your child to do the right thing. By giving them responsibility, you increase their independence and self-confidence. 

In this way, the positive is emphasisedinstead of emphasising the shortcomings and negative aspects.

For example:
"I trust you to brush your teeth properly", "The first one who is ready, helps the others", "I am proud of you, you have understood the instructions well", "I need you to help me set the rules, here are your instructions...".

You can also set up a morning routine morning routine, with a typical morning routine. The same goes for the evening...

Do it with them for the first few days, then let them do it on their own, and check off what is done as they go along (you can find lots of sample routines on Pinterest).

6 | Creating moments of exclusivity to ease sibling disputes


Play a game or activity of the child's choice for a set amount of time, explaining that it will be the sibling's turn next. Explain that this time is respected without interruption from anyone.

Then, at bedtime, share the "kifs of the day". "kifs of the day.

We take turns listing our 3 favorite moments of the day, without cutting each other off. This is my professional advice, it's an approach of course, and if you only try it once, you won't necessarily get results...

Because of the need to reproduce "known" scenarios, everyone unconsciously tries to reproduce conflicting scenes, so that the brain validates its beliefs.

Each new habit needs 21 days to register in the brain. 


I believe in you 😊

You want a personalized accompaniment? I am here for you.


See you soon


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