Advice for Parents Dealing with Sibling Rivalry

10 08 2010

Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on



My sons, aged 10 and 7, are very different in temperament and personality. They often get on each other’s nerves  and can be pretty awful to each other. This is especially an issue because they walk to school together, etc. Should I try to keep them separate, to avoid conflict, or should I insist that they continue to spend time together, and resign myself to refereeing their arguments until they mature?

Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Answer:

Obviously you can’t totally separate your sons because they are by Hashem’s hashgacha brothers. However you don’t have to discourage them from having outside friendships. You can schedule play dates with their friends and take each of them to different homes to spend time. This could mean a lot of chauffeuring about for you but it will earn you some peace of mind. In any event what you have to do is set down bottom rules of behavior that you will enforce. This includes no hitting, name calling, and taking or breaking things that belong to the other. The result of this may not be that they will become great pals but at least it will lead them to behave more civilly to each other. In the beginning, you will probably have to do a lot of policing, lecturing and punishing until they understand that your rules are non negotiable. Things will get better, but until they do, it’s worth putting your effort into educating your children that getting along is a must not only in school with friends but even more so at home with siblings.



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