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Private Jewish Day School: Older vs. Younger Siblings

This is magnified when you throw age into the mix. Is there any area where a parent can relatively easily reduce some of this tension?

I would like to suggest there is. Giving some preferential treatment to older siblings in defined contexts on a consistent basis will go a long way to eliminating rivalry in those areas. One mundane example – when the father distributes the wine from Kiddush and challa from the Motzi, if there is a consistent rule in the house that those items are distributed by age order, one potential point of contention has been removed. The younger children will undoubtedly complain that they are never first, never get preferential treatment vis-à-vis their older sibling. They may be accurate – but they can’t deny the reality that they are younger and if the rule is consistently and matter-of-factly enforced, the issue will not reach the boiling point. Equally important is the fact that Halacha mandates a certain degree of honor due from a younger sibling to an older one. Carefully constructing rules and limits will decrease the potential for unhappiness and rivalry. Bedtimes, frequency and duration of friends’ visits, times for returning home when set up effectively, really work when the parents are clear, firm, predictable and consistent. Children crave boundaries that reassure them as to what is OK and what is not. They act out more when rules and limits are either not clearly defined or not consistently and fairly enforced. When older children enjoy the privileges that should rightfully come with age it won’t be hurtful to younger siblings, when those privileges granted to the older ones are clearly because that’s the `way we do it. ’ When enforced in a consistent, firm and friendly manner they may be a source of disappointment to the younger ones, but not one of contention, anger or strife. for more information about this click on "Private Jewish Day School" to enter to our post!

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