Valorie Burton: If parents were asked to name the most irritating aspect of child rearing, a lot of them would vote for sibling rivalry. Since the dawn of time, brothers and sisters have battled for the attention of their parents. It becomes particularly challenging when kids have opposite interest and talents.
Perhaps one of your kids is athletic and personable; another may be more introverted and prefer reading or computers. Kids who are opposites tend to compete with each other and try to show their abilities and interest are more important, especially when they are close in age; it's enough to drive mom or dad crazy.
The good news is toning down sibling rivalry is possible. Parents need to be careful not to inflame the feelings of jealousy that already exist. So avoid even casual comments that favor one child over another. Nobody likes to feel inferior to someone else, especially a sibling. Instead, focus on each child's strength and make sure you point out those strengths to their siblings. Ideally, siblings will become each others biggest fan, rooting for each other, rather than competing. When they encourage one another, your family develops a team spirit. Most important, always remind your children that their relation with their siblings will last a lifetime.
So it's very important to be supportive of one another. Getting along now will make a big difference later, while making your home more peaceful for everyone.