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253 . 651 . 3752

Helping people bring structure and calm to chaos

Deanne Carter, LMHC

253 . 651 . 3752

Helping people bring structure and calm to chaos

Deanne Carter, LMHC

Sibling Rivalry

© 2007 Deanne Carter, LMHC, NCC

Guide your child to solve the problem for themselves.

  • “I bet that hurts.” 

  • “What do you think you are going to do?” 

  • “Would you like to know what some other kids try?” (see “What to do about teasing” for ideas) 

  • “Will that give them any power or attention?” 

  • “I hope that works out for you.”


Change environmental factors that you have control over:

  • Location of homework (on opposite sides of table with barrier up, or even in different rooms), seats in TV room away from each other

  • Schedule morning bathroom access, TV access, choice of seats based on winner of the week (ex. for chore completion), TV remote access based on point system or time of day


Make dates with each child, even if it’s for 10 minutes per day. Let the child guide the activity. Give them your undivided attention, listen, no advice giving without asking permission first.

Meeting the needs of the individual (use various forms of discipline, as well as, rewards). Same rules, different support.

Beware of tattling: Are they telling because they need help or because they want the power of getting the other in trouble? Discipline in private.

Set up safe “fighting”: pillow fights with clear rules. It can be hard to share your space and toys and family and friends with the same people!

Use “I notice that…” sentences which internalize compliments instead of focusing on pleasing you, the adult. This can contribute to increasing self-worth and decreasing the survival instinct of competition. (see Energizing Positives handout)

Give choices whenever you can to increase sense of personal power.

Odd or even
Sit or stand on floor space 
Partner read or by yourself 
Hand shake or high five 
Do it yourself or with help 
By yourself or at the table 
At your table or on the floor 
Colored pencil or twistable 


Which chair will you sit in 
This (motor skill) or another 
Colored paper or white
On white board or paper
Write story or draw picture 
Fiction or non-fiction 
Now or during TV time 
Quiet at the table or in room 


Which color pencil 
Write or type 
 Write or dictate 
Which one first 
Crayons or Markers 
Read to me or sibling
Spelling #1 or #2 
Addition or Subtraction first


Cards or dice
Before or after
Cursive or print
Coins or Cubes
Front or back first
Start at top or bottom

Read at desk or on cushion

Feet touching floor or in the air


Give each child a sense of belonging through contributions to the family.

Organize art supplies

Mail pick up                                 
Table cleaner                
Toy manager/clean-up

of the shared space     
Computer/Electronics shut down 
Presenter of dinner menu


Set up snack

Pencil Sharpener

Pet Feeder

Phone Answerer

Note taker at family meetings


Garbage assistant

Paper towel replacer

Take out lunches in morning



White board clearner


Daily Schedule announcer

Pet Food monitor -- put on grocery list



Come in for a consult appointment and we’ll
create a plan to reduce conflict in your family.


Ccall 253.651.3752

or email me and let's get started

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