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How do divorcing parents prevent sibling rivalry from worsening?

When parents divorce, one of their primary concerns is the emotional well-being of their children. It can take considerable effort and time to help ensure that a child feels safe, loved and supported after a break-up. When there are multiple children, parents to be aware not just of the feelings of each child, but of the impact of their divorce with their relationships with their siblings.

Sibling rivalry, which is a normal part of growing up with brothers and sisters, can worsen when parents separate or divorce. That's why it's essential for parents to understand the reasons why this is happening and how to deal with it.

Kids tend to blame themselves, at least in part, when their parents break up. If there are multiple kids in the family, they often blame each other. They may assume that the things that drive them crazy about their brothers and sisters are what drove their parents apart.

That's why it's essential for parents to tell their kids, and reinforce this as much as necessary, that they had nothing to do with the break-up. It's also crucial not to say anything negative about one of your kids to another one, just as you shouldn't speak negatively about your spouse in front of your children.

When parents divorce and one parent moves out, kids often feel a lack of attention. Even the parent they're living with may be consumed with divorce-related matters and his or her own feelings. When there are multiple kids, finding time for all of them, and making sure that they all get equal attention and affection is essential. If kids feel that one or more siblings is getting the bulk of parental attention, that can increase sibling rivalry.

Most sibling rivalries fade as kids grow up. However, some, if not dealt with appropriately by parents, can last a lifetime. That's why parents need to pay attention to their kids' relationships with one another during their break-up. Siblings can be an important source of strength and support to one another during and after their parents' divorce if their anger and frustration at each other don't fester.

If you need help handling your children's sibling rivalries during your divorce, a therapist may be able to provide guidance. Your Massachusetts family law attorney can likely recommend an experienced professional in your area.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "3 Reasons Sibling Rivalry Can Worsen After a Divorce (And How to Prevent Them)," accessed Sep. 06, 2017

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