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Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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This was a text from my oldest (of my twins, both

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this was a text from my oldest (of my twins, both female).Dad I know me and court argue and a lot of
It is about petty things but I was so happy at home when I came home at first and now I just feel sad and miserable being here half the time and that's being honest I know I do things but the way I am treated by Courtney for no reason makes me miserable I know i reply bad to her and some times she does do nice things for me but the way she makes me feel as a person for no reason when I'm around her this much brings out the worst in me and I feel like is really unhealthy. I feel like I argue with kt but it's never anything like her treating me the way I'm treated by Courtney and its not the stupid stuff like clothes and plans and friends it's just in general nobody in this family treats me like that and I'm really starting to have a hard time with it so would love to find a solution cause I'm very upset. Love you!Any suggestions?
Bill :

I am sorry to hear about the conflict between your twins.

Bill :

I am wondering if you are able to chat?

Bill :

This is clearly an issue of sibling rivalry and in twins the intensity can be much stronger.

Bill :

I will provide you with some helpful suggestion on how to get the to talk about their issues in effort to resolve some of the conflict between them.

Bill :

If you cannot resolve these issues- you may need the assistance of a trained Family Therapist to help.

Bill :

Sibling Rivalry

What is sibling rivalry?
Sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and sisters. It is a concern for almost all parents of two or more kids. Problems often start right after the birth of the second child. Sibling rivalry usually continues throughout childhood and can be very frustrating and stressful to parents. There are lots of things parents can do to help their kids get along better and work through conflicts in positive ways. Read on for tips and resources to help you keep the peace at your house.

What’s the up-side of having more than one child?
Most likely your kids’ relationship will eventually develop into a close one. Working things out with siblings gives your children a chance to develop important skills like cooperating and being able to see another person’s point of view.

What causes sibling rivalry?
There are many factors that contribute to sibling rivalry:

  • Each child is competing to define who they are as an individual. As they discover who they are, they try to find their own talents, activities, and interests. They want to show that they are separate from their siblings.

  • Children feel they are getting unequal amounts of your attention, discipline, and responsiveness.

  • Children may feel their relationship with their parents is threatened by the arrival of a new baby.

  • Your children’s developmental stages will affect how mature they are and how well they can share your attention and get along with one another.

  • Children who are hungry, bored or tired are more likely to become frustrated and start fights.

  • Children may not know positive ways to get attention from or start playful activities with a brother or sister, so they pick fights instead.

  • Family dynamics play a role. For example, one child may remind a parent of a relative who was particularly difficult, and this may subconsciously influence how the parent treats that child.

  • Children often fight more in families where parents think aggression and fighting between siblings is normal and an acceptable way to resolve conflicts.

  • Not having time to share regular, enjoyable family time together (like family meals) can increase the chances of children engaging in conflict.

  • Stress in the parents' lives can decrease the amount of time and attention parents can give the children and increase sibling rivalry.

  • Stress in your children’s lives can shorten their fuses, and decrease their ability to tolerate frustration, leading to more conflict.

  • How parents treat their kids and react to conflict can make a big difference in how well siblings get along.

Read on to find out more….

How can I help my kids get along better?[IMAGE][SRC][/SRC][ALT][/ALT][WIDTH]142.85714285714286[/WIDTH][HEIGHT]100[/HEIGHT][STYLE][/STYLE][/IMAGE]

The basics:

  • Don’t play favorites. This one is a “biggie”.

  • Try not to compare your children to one another. For example, don't say things like, "Your brother gets good grades in math—why can't you?"

  • Let each child be who they are. Don’t try to pigeonhole or label them.

  • Enjoy each of your children’s individual talents and successes.

  • Set your kids up to cooperate rather than compete. For example, have them race the clock to pick up toys, instead of racing each other.

  • Pay attention to the time of day or other patterns in when conflicts usually occur. Are conflicts more likely right before naps or bedtime or maybe when children are hungry before meals? Perhaps a change in the routine, an earlier meal or snack, or a well-planned quiet activity when the kids are at loose ends could help avert your kids’ conflicts.

  • Teach your kids positive ways to get attention from each other. Show them how to approach another child and ask them to play, and to share their belongings and toys.

  • Being fair is very important, but it is not the same as being equal. Older and younger children may have different privileges due to their age, but if children understand that this inequality is because one child is older or has more responsibilities, they will see this as fair. Even if you did try to treat your children equally, there will still be times when they feel as if they’re not getting a fair share of attention, discipline, or responsiveness from you. Expect this and be prepared to explain the decisions you have made. Reassure your kids that you do your best to meet each of their unique needs.

  • Plan family activities that are fun for everyone. If your kids have good experiences together, it acts as a buffer when they come into conflict. It’s easier to work it out with someone you share warm memories with.

  • Make sure each child has enough time and space of their own. Kids need chances to do their own thing, play with their own friends without their sibling, and to have their space and property protected.

Be there for each child:

  • Set aside “alone time” for each child, if possible. Each parent should try to spend some one-on-one with each kid on a regular basis. Try to get in at least a few minutes each day. It’s amazing how much even 10 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time can mean to your child.

  • When you are alone with each child, you may want to ask them once in a while what are some of the positive things their brother or sister does that they really like and what are some of the things they do that might bother them or make them mad. This will help you keep tabs on their relationships, and also remind you that they probably do have some positive feelings for each other!

  • Listen—really listen—to how your children feel about what’s going on in the family. They may not be so demanding if they know you at least care how they feel.

  • Celebrate your children’s differences.

  • Let each child know they are special in their own way.

Resolving conflicts:

  • Research shows that you should pay attention to your kids’ conflicts (so that no one gets hurt, and you can notice abuse if it occurs). Try to see if your children can work out their own conflicts, but remember that younger children will probably need you to intervene and help structure the problem-solving. Try not to take sides and favor one child over the other. Get them settled and calm first, then ask questions about what happened before dispensing discipline.

  • Help your kids develop the skills to work out their conflicts on their own. Teach them how to compromise, respect one another, divide things fairly, etc. If you give them the tools, eventually they will have the confidence that they can work it out themselves.

  • Don’t yell or lecture. It won’t help.

  • It doesn’t matter “who started it,” because it takes two to make a quarrel. Hold children equally responsible when ground rules get broken.

  • In a conflict, give your kids a chance to express their feelings about each other. Don’t try to talk them out of their feelings. Help your kids find words for their feelings. Show them how to talk about their feelings, without yelling, name-calling, or violence.

  • Encourage win-win negotiations, where each side gains something.

  • Give your kids reminders and advance warnings (for example, counting to three). When they start picking on each other, help them remember to state their feelings to each other. Help them solve the problem themselves. You can offer suggestions, but let them decide what are the best options.

  • If you are constantly angry at your kids, no wonder they are angry at each other! Anger feeds on itself. Learn to manage your anger, so you can teach your children how to manage theirs.

  • Teach conflict resolution skills during calm times.

  • Model good conflict resolution skills for your kids when interacting with them and with other family members.

Bill :

Also see:

Bill :

This is another great article with some helpful tips:

Bill :

Review this information and if you have additional questions, feel free to respond- I am happy to help.

Bill :

Kindest regards, Bill

Bill :

I Appreciate Your Positive Rating So that I receive Credit for my time.

Bill :

-follow up questions- no additional cost.

Bill :

Thank you

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

i can set aside time to chat tomorrow. phone is XXX-XXX-XXXX

I am sorry- we are not able do consult online- I am happy to help you in this forum however- I cannot contact you by phone

I trust you understand.

Kindest regards, Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
Bill and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My bad, i saw where you asked if we were able to chat.

Mike- By rating this poor service - do you mean that you want a refund?????

Thank you

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no, i am fine. same basic info that was on the internet. Little bit of a canned response

I can see that previous expert has opted, I would like to answer the question.
In this answer I consciously concentrate on the practical aspects of you able to resolve the situation and help them when you will discuss with them next week.
As you rightly put, sometime both might be good but might not get along with each other. The reasons could be due to different personalities, low threshold of misunderstanding and sometimes pride getting in the way to Apologize which helps to move on.
When you discuss with them it is important you have a mind map how you are going to discuss the core issue and resolve in a positive way where both feel Win-win situation.
Firstly, it is important for you to listen from both sides before making any judgments. They should feel that you have taken their account seriously.
You set out the fact that you love them both equally and you would do your best to help them to understand things.
You start the discussion after hearing their version and start with an objective of separating the person from the problem. By separating the problem from the person, real issues can be debated without damaging the relationships. You would be quite amazed to see the difference in their attitude if it properly done.
Then start with the agreements first. For example, my guess is both would say they Love you and like you. Both would say they got along well up to certain age and like some aspects of each other. By this, the animosity would become slightly less to a point further discussion might be helpful.
Then start by asking them to look at minor issues and explore further how they can look at that difference. Try to concentrate one thing at a time. Ask them not to target one another rather try to see the positive side in another or imagine to place themselves in others shoe before they become critical towards other.
By the fact that they both are 19 years tell us that they both might be busy in their lives,have lot on their plate in the form of balancing education/work with relationships and also other stressors. So, sometimes people in that situation feel it is easy to get upset or critical to a person well Known to them like a family member to ventilate their stress or frustration because they might take things granted with, it might be helpful to explore this and if they are doing this subconsciously then try to help them to tease out their stressors and seek help or deal with stress by different methods which are more helpful, for example by being close to each other.
I know it must be difficult for you to see them like this But one thing you can not do is being complacent and wait for the issue to resolve by itself because most often it won't unless addressed pro actively.
I wish you all the best.
Please do not hesitate to ask me if yo require more information.
Thank you.