Every member of the family is inevitably going to face hardships during a divorce. Parents can and should make it as easy as possible for their children, but some aspects of the struggles kids face are out of the parents' control. However, if your little ones are showing signs of increased sibling rivalry in their behavior during a divorce, don't ignore it. See your divorce lawyer if you have any doubts about actions you need to be taking.
Not only do you need to address any behavioral issues for the well-being of your kids, but it can be in your own best interests. When you're getting a divorce, a bitter soon-to-be ex may try to blame you for any problems with the kids, and they may try to question your parenting skills if a lot of issues come up under your watch. Here are ways that you can minimize sibling rivalry during a divorce.
Plan to Give Each Child One-on-One Time With Each Parent
One of the things that can easily get dismissed during a divorce is one-on-time for each child. When you're facing life as a newly single parent, you don't have another parent around to watch siblings while you spend private time with each child. Talk about this issue with your ex if necessary so that you can both provide one-on-one time to each of your children, making each feel all the support they have from both parents. They can prevent jealousy and sibling rivalry.
Set Up a Behavioral Contract With Your Kids
If sibling rivalry has become a repeated problem during a divorce, write a simple behavioral contract for all your kids. This can actually be quite fun for children, and you may speak to your lawyer about the possibility of setting up an appointment for kids to visit the office just so that they feel that they are officially signing a contract. The contract can outline what is and isn't acceptable behavior among siblings, and it can include negative consequences for breaking the contract and positive rewards for keeping the contract each week.
Help the Older Sibling Feel Important Without Pressuring Them
Set aside some private time with your oldest child. Let them know that you are there to support them with any problems that they have with their younger siblings during the divorce. Also, talk about the ways that they may need help and how they can also be helpful to their siblings. You want to help the older child feel important without making them feel that they have the responsibility of taking care of their siblings.
Finally, keep in mind that no children are going to be perfect. All siblings fight. In fact, millions of kids of happily married parents fight frequently. However, by being proactive and trying these actions to minimize sibling rivalry, you can help your kids appreciate each other as people and support one another through the difficulties that may arise throughout the divorce.