Parenting sibling opposites

Parenting sibling opposites

How to keep the peace at home when parenting sibling opposites.

Does your home mimic a war zone? Having children with opposite personalities under the same roof can lead to all kinds of battles. And how do you accommodate their various wants and needs when time feels so limited with today’s modern lifestyle.

Bernadett Ferreira-Martins, a psychologist at Meaningful Minds Psychologists in Johannesburg offers the following parenting advice to help you create a stronger bond between your children, no matter how different they are to each other:

Don’t compare when parenting

The first mistake parents make is to compare their children to each other. By doing this, one child will feel favoured and the other child will feel left out. This will also place emphasis on the undesired personality, which can lead to withdrawal. One child becomes too sure of himself, while the other may feel worthless. Avoid comparing and accept each child for their individual personality.


When parenting, teach your kids to compromise

When children’s interests are different and you can’t watch two different movies at the same time, or you can’t keep an eye on both, while one is indoors and the other is outdoors, teach them to compromise. Try and agree on a movie that both would like to watch. Come up with an activity that both would enjoy indoors or outdoors. You as the parent should negotiate and you should be teaching your children to do the same. This will help them consider and respect each other as well as other people in future situations.

When parenting, praise their uniqueness

Praise each child for their individual and unique skills. One child may be sporty, while the other is crafty. Praise individual accomplishments, without comparisons and without emphasising one over the other. Every child has something that they enjoy and they’re good at. Praise their individuality and never make them feel they have to compete with or be like the other sibling. Spend one-on-one quality time with each child to do what they enjoy.

‘Don’t forget to explore each child’s individual interests and passions,’ says Bernadett.

‘One child may enjoy an activity that dad also enjoys, so let them spend time together, while the other may wish to explore an activity with you.’ Children can often surprise their parents with their different talents and interests. Don’t limit your child’s potential for growth by expecting them to be like you, like your partner or like their sibling. Allow your children to be unique and love them for their differences and individuality.


Feature: Taryn Das Neves and photos from

Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


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