What’s the ULTIMATE in Sibling Rivalry?

This years Super Bowl, better known as the Harbowl!

This Sunday Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in our country. Even if you are not a sports fan your probably going to watch it just for the cutting edge commercials. This year we not only have an excellent match up of teams but we have a unique match up of coaches. It’s two brothers in competition with each other for the same prize. Potentially every parents nightmare; which brother do they root for, which side of the field do they sit on, do they congratulate the excited winner in front of the disappointed loser? On the other hand, there is also certainly the overwhelming pride these parents must feel with the accomplishments of both of their sons.

So, how do parents prepare their children to deal with their competitive feelings? I think, sport and performance psychologist, Chris Carr, makes a great point when he says, “If they have a good, solid, stable relationship, with love and respect, then competition can be healthy, and it doesn’t have to paralyze or disable the brotherly relationship. If they can focus on the right things to be competitive and compete at a very high level, then regardless of the outcome…you’re happy for your sibling even as your disappointed in your own loss”.

Sibling rivalry at any age is normal but the message parents need to teach their children should be loud and clear about what to do with the intense feelings that come with competition. When parents ask me how do I teach my kids to be good losers and gracious winners here is what parents should remember. Kids are concrete thinkers all the way through elementary school so the more specific your instructions are the easier it is for them to follow. So simply say, “When you win the first thing you say to everyone who you have played with is thank you for playing with me”. If they lose tell them to say, “great game, congratulations”. This is how you teach your children to deal with the way that they feel.

This is an example of a lesson from the upcoming Pocket Full of Feelings(PFF) parent guide. Stay connected to through www.theparentingdoctor.com for the upcoming release of PFF.

Go 49ers, Dr. Ann!

*Coming soon: Pocket Full of Feelings, a product for family emotional literacy learning.