Sibling rivalry is a complex issue and although this is something that has always existed, it does not mean that parents shouldn’t do anything about it just because it is normal. On the contrary, since there are things that parents can do, sibling rivalry does not have to be a problem and it probably shouldn’t be.
The first thing that parents can do is to talk to their kids as much as possible. Teach them how to express their feelings and one of the easiest ways to do this is to listen to what they have to say and repeat everything back without criticizing them or judging them. The kids will tell you what is going on with them this way and you can use the information to help them deal with their feelings in an efficient way.
Another thing that parents can do is to come up with certain rules in the house that have to be followed no matter what. Obviously, the rules should be the same for both kids and they should both be perfectly aware of them. If you have rules, arguments and problems are easier to solve and you should, of course, encourage them to rely on the rules to solve the problems without your help.
The way you behave is also crucial in how they will behave. This means that you should be consistent no matter what. By sticking to what you say, you are letting them know that there isn’t any room for manipulation. Also, make sure that you don’t compare them to each other because this never leads to anything good. Everybody is different and just because one kid is great at sports does not mean that the other should play a sport because of it.
Since sibling rivalry can occur because kids are desperate for your attention, make sure that you spend some quality time with both of your kids separately. Of course, do not always do this because you are a family and you should be together, but from time to time, spend some time with both your kids separately doing what each of them likes doing. Needless to say, the amount of time you spend with one kid should be the same as the amount you spend with the other.
Finally, try to teach your kids that you are a family and that you are one team. You should work together no matter what and you should be there for each other no matter what. Teach them all about family values and values such as tolerance, cooperation and generosity. Tell stories of how you behaved with your sibling (invent stories if you have to, good stories of course) and they are bound to learn something from it. Besides, once you manage to teach them more about these values, you are not only dealing with sibling rivalry, you are also getting them prepared for the real world and making them more capable of having great relationships with other people one day.