While I was watching the Super Bowl all I could think about was what the parents of John and Jim Harbaugh were thinking! As a parent, I always want what is best for both my kids, but what if what was best for one meant it was bad for the other.
How in the world do you enjoy this scenario if you are the Harbaughs? There had to be a winner and a loser — so what do you say to the son who didn’t fulfill his dream?
There are other siblings in the pro-sporting world. Eli & Peyton Manning, Venus & Serena Williams, Sterling & Shannon Sharpe among others. And in most cases these siblings have faced each other. But none on as big of a stage as this one!
So how do you parent through a scenario like this one? The best advice, don’t pick sides and support both. Sounds easy right?
I found this advice from family psychologist Peter Goldenthal who is also the author of “Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Become Cooperative, Caring and Compassionate.”
Know when sibling squabbles turn into bullying.
Goldenthal says its best to stay out of sibling rivalries but you also need to look out for the potential of danger. Is an older sibling harassing a younger one?, are there threats?, do you notice rough behavior? Then you may need to step in.
Talk about it later, when things are good.
Choose a time when the kids are getting along and point out how families should support each other and not fight with each other.
Watch out for favoritism.
Parents need to walk a fine line and not favor the activities of one child over another. Make sure you show equal levels of interest in each of the child’s activities and accomplishments.
Supporting all of your children is the best thing you can do as a parent, even if they are competing against each other!