The 3 reasons siblings compete for your attention and what you can do

Ever feel like you are doing your best to give your children what they need, and they continue to compete for your attention? No matter what you say to them they just can’t see that you are giving them both love and attention.

Here are 3 reasons your children compete for your attention and some ideas on how to alleviate this

  1. They get power over their sibling

I find parents often have expectations of the older child because they know more. Other examples can be expectations of the “good one” because they never complain or give you a hard time, we expect that from them and then are harder on them when they do challenge us. Try and avoid this wherever possible!! Become aware of this and STOP. 

I know it seems to make our lives easier in the moment, but it can be the underlying reason for seeking your attention at other times. Rather find any other way to meet your need there.  In the moment it may give them authority or significance for being the older or good one (more power than their sibling) but in other situations it could cause them to have to submit their needs. (Oh just do that, your brother is too young to understand) (Less power than their sibling) This power play between each other will play up in lots of other areas for example wanting that significance from you which they get in the times you want them to help. This can be confusing for them when you don’t allow it in that situation. 

  1. They haven’t developed a strong sense of satisfaction

When siblings compete for attention, it doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t giving enough it simply means they can’t see it at the moment. It is just an indicator that we need to build their awareness of what satisfaction feels like. Remember children think in black and white, so making their time with you black and white builds their perspective of satisfaction. Think of your routine, when do you spend time with them? Is it bath time? Is it story time? It can be on the way to school intentionally having a conversation with them. You can make a special time just for the two of you. How can you make it quality time where you are not distracted? It is not about lots of time, it is about being intentional in that time. When we can allocate even if it is for 10 minutes at a time where they know they get your attention, this can make a huge difference. 

  1. They don’t feel comfortable playing on their own

It is important to teach your toddler the skill of playing on their own to create their perception that they don’t “need” you to be happy or entertained. Can you take a little time each day and practice for them to play on their own? In the beginning you may need to be there but be intentional that you don’t engage in the game. Ask them, what are they going to play with? Tell them this is time for them to play on their own. Reassure them that it is good to play on their own and that they can have fun on their own. What can they do to make it fun? Be patient with them without just expecting them to get it right straight away. Choose a short time to start, if it is challenging (it could even be a few minutes) Do this regularly and increase the time as you go until they feel comfortable playing on their own

In closing

Use these tips and others I provide in my blogs.  I am here to support you through your entire parent journey

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About the Author

Gail is a Family Relationship Coach specialising in Parent-Child Relationships. She is passionate about empowering and inspiring parents to develop children’s self-awareness. She believes that this can be achieved by balancing parent’s needs with children’s development and happiness. Understanding how to synchronise our thoughts and emotions and what drives them ensures our happiness, and our children reaching their full potential. Gail is a Qualified NLP Practitioner, NLP Life Coach and Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner with over 10 years’ experience and success at applying these techniques to children’s learning and behaviour. Her success with her own son is proof of the possibility of true potential

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