Managing Sibling Rivalry


Sibling rivalry is a common struggle families face, even throughout Islamic history. Children fight. And sometimes those fights can escalate so much, parents are at a loss of what to do. Sibling rivalry is a natural part of childhood development. But learning how to navigate those cumbersome squabbles can be an enormous challenge. What causes this rivalry and what are strategies to help mitigate the struggles to avoid any type of long-term issues? We are joined by Najwa Awad, a child psychotherapist who shares strategies to help mitigate sibling rivalry, and the pressing issues on self-esteem that can develop if the rivalry is left unchecked.


Some cases when kids feel inferior are, ‘everybody else went to an Ivy League school and I didn’t’ or ‘everybody’s a great athlete and I’m not.’ They can begin to develop self-esteem issues. Even when they outgrow sibling rivalries, these low self-esteem issues will continue to go on, later on.

       -Najwa Awad


In this Episode:

  • Identify causes of sibling rivalry 
  • Determine when sibling rivalry is normal and when it goes beyond 
  • Lessons in Islam that teach us of the traditional practice of children competing for parental attention
  • How sibling rivalry is drawn out from feelings of inferiority, and how to recognize when a child competing for parental attention and experiencing feelings of inferiority
  • Instances and behaviors in children that are reflecting parental interaction, and are often looked at as a plain sibling rivalry.
  • Best practices parents can do to mitigate sibling rivalry at home and avoid making the appearance that they are playing favorites.
  • The importance of quality time with each child 
  • Learn why it’s important that parents demonstrate a genuine interest in the things their individual children like to do. 
  • Understand play therapy in its true essence and how it performs an important role in helping ease sibling rivalry.
  • Recognize  the value of asking your child questions versus orders 
  • Different ways parents can make their children NOT feel inferior.
  • Find out why parents must recognize the relevance of their children’s birth order and how they can leverage that to bring out their children’s unique characteristics and strengths, and boost their self-esteem
  • How parents can turn away from comparisons and make their children thrive in what they are good at.
  • Recognize how Allah has gifted each individual a unique set of talents and capabilities and how parents can utilize that uniqueness in the way they approach each of their children.
  • Why parents need to take a look at the way they are resolving conflicts between them and their spouses if they want their children to learn how to resolve conflicts with their siblings or with other people in the social arena.
  • Guidance on how parents can deal with conflict when it occurs at home, in the playground, in the social circle and why reprimanding a child is NOT advisable even though it is the natural thing to do.
  • Realize the kind of moments all across parenting that makes a difference in a child’s upbringing.
  • Learn the difference between how parents should resolve conflict with their 3-5-year-olds versus their 7-12-year-old children.
  • Find out why it matters that sibling rivalry should NOT be left unchecked.
  • How sibling rivalry can affect the relationship of siblings for the rest of their lives, and how it affects their individual issues and their self-esteem issues for the long term.
  • The best time for parents to seek outside help when trying to resolve sibling rivalry issues.
  • Understand what’s causing anxiety in the “perfect children” and how parents are sometimes contributing to that anxiety.


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Blog Comments

I’m unable to view the above videos. It is saying content unavailable in your country. I live in Pakistan and I’m mother of 3 kids Alhamdulillah. I would love to see and learn from these videos. Kindly make them available.

Salaam! These are podcast (audio) episodes available globally. Please try clicking on the Google, Apple, Soundcloud, etc. links. Insha’Allah you should be able to listen. Don’t forget to subscribe to get notifications of the next episode.

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