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The Terrible Teens: Understanding And Handling Sibling Rivalry

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Girls will be girls and part of that means occasionally getting a bit “catty” with one another. Sisters are especially prone to this “catatonic” state.

No matter how much they love (and respect) each other, sisters will argue. And, experts assure us that it’s a natural part of growing up and asserting their individuality.

Girls are often concerned with their sense of “uniqueness”, what makes them different, and/or special, especially from a female sibling. Since they have so much in common, each is eager to distinguish herself from the other, and the key way of doing so is by becoming “unlike” her sister, primarily through “disagreements”.

In essence, the controversy is a means by claiming their “territory”…and their “separateness”….and is actually a useful tool is asserting their own unique personalities in developing into distinct adults each with something unique to offer. In the mean time, here are a few helpful hints to keep the peace and give you peace of mind.

Fighting Fair: Call a meeting and set the ground rules for parameters in arguing. Its best to address and prohibit behaviors such as hitting and name-calling.

Remaining Impartial: Don’t play “favorites” even if you’re inclined to agree with one perspective more than the other. Within reasonable limits allow your girls to settle the score on their own. Research shows, that taking sides only encourages additional disagreements and squabbling.

Tempering Their Behavior: According to statistics, mild mannered misses are better at “playing nice”. Try to impart practices of acceptance on your girls, and demonstrate easy-going behaviors within your household, encouraging them to do the same.

Remember That “Time Heals”: Give your girls the time and room they “need” to grow. As they get “older” and acquire more personal confidence, they won’t “need” to argue or define themselves or their individuality as much. Ultimately, their common bond will bring them closer, just as it will between you and your children (as it did between you and your siblings and you and your parents).

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > The Terrible Teens: Understanding And Handling Sibling Rivalry

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