Competition is a great motivator, and sibling rivalry develops that competitive spirit. However, you do not want to have your children compete for your affection.
If you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is a normal result of the competitive attitude of children to achieve your recognition and an essential process in the development of healthy self-esteem. At first, the younger child will try to be like the older one, but during middle childhood he will need to establish his own identity. They will flip flop from being best friends to mortal enemies and back to best friends again. Usually, no matter how frustrated they are with each other, they will unite against an outside threat.
One thing you can do to reduce the rivalry is NOT compare them. When you say something like, “Why don’t you behave like your brother?” you fan the flames of discontent and even inspire jealousy. It will be tempting but try to remember that each child is a unique individual, so love them all, praise them for their own virtues, and if you want to motivate them to change, don’t compare them to anyone, but especially not a sibling.
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