Thursday, 20 June 2013

Top 5 tips for dealing with sibling rivalry

Today's blog topic was suggested by @evansmeryl. Thank you!
Judging by the tweet I received, I think she was locked in the bathroom at the time while her two kids staged a reinactment of the battle of Stalingrad. She needed immediate, useful advice to deal with this issue. Sadly, I only just got round to writing this post and I've had no more tweets. Therefore I have to assume she is still locked in the bathroom and her phone's battery has run out. Her kids have now started eating out of the kitchen bin and have created a crude system of government based on extreme violence and jelly babies. Hopefully she'll escape soon and my valuable advice will insure this situation never rears it's ugly head again.
First things first. Our unofficial moto at HD is 'prevention is better than cure'. Our official moto is 'it's not what you've got its where you stick it' but that doesn't seem relevant in this case. So if you are reading this post and you are living a blissful existence with one child read my post lies, damned lies and siblings. This should prevent you from letting nature con you into having another. Remember, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting a different result!
For some of us it is too late. We've already succumbed to a few minutes extra sexy time and the tantalising thought that siblings will entertain each other. Or maybe nature has taken the decision making power away from you and given you twins. All I can say to that is, damn your partner's super strength sperm and your extremely hospitable ovaries!
Note of caution: Whatever you do, do not try to treat both siblings fairly with equal attention, praise and love. This will not work!! Sibling rivalry comes from an acute desire for mum's affection so while there is still breath in your alcohol ravaged body, sibling rivalry will exist. The solution to the problem is to take the completely opposite route.
  1. Punish both children for one child's misbehaviour. This will develop a team ethos and feeling of unity against a common! If possible link the children to some crude electrocuting device. This will ensure that both children can be punished even if one is staying with a relative.
  2. Enrol one child in a yoga class whilst letting the other take martial arts lessons. This will ensure there is physical and technical dominance so any fights won't last that long. It will also give the illusion that you are a good parent by involving your kids in physical activity.
  3. Buy one child's clothes from Hackett whilst kitting the other one out at the Army and Navy store. Sending your weaker sibling to parties dressed as a second world war Japanese General will lower their self esteem even further. This will ensure they give up without a fight. Suggest to other parents that your weaker sibling is 'quirky'. This will explain his unusual dress sense without alerting social services.
  4. Construct a reward chart weighted towards the strengths of the child you wish to promote. If you have a boy and a girl this is easy. Rewards could be given for, doing your own ponytail before school or keeping your dress clean. It is trickier of siblings are of the same sex but not impossible. Give rewards for people born in a certain year or with particular letters in their name or a certain eye colour.
  5. Only have one television. Many parents foolishly think the solution to arguments over TV programs is to have more than one telly. Don't fall into this trap is as it still wont work. There will be five tellies on at once and the kids will still fight in one room over Peppa Pig v Ben 10. First thing every day stage a mock MMA style physical battle between the kids, with a hastily constructed ring if possible. The winner gets the TV for the day, the loser has to clean the attic.
If you follow this advice you can guarantee that sibling rivalry will be eradicated. One child will develop an innate feeling of self confidence and superiority which will render attention seeking behaviour null and void. The other will be so crippled by self esteem issues that they wont even try.

On a final note remember that sibling rivalry, at its core, is a competition for mum's affection. Mimic the behaviour of your partner by ignoring the kids as much as possible, shouting for no apparent reason and giving overly severe punishments for minor infractions. After a while the kids will avoid you as much as they do your husband.

Good luck and god speed!



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