Sibling Rivalry and How To Respond To It

Date: 07/03/2023

Title: Responding to sibling rivalry.

So last school year you really worked hard with your freshman daughter to really push through
and have successful freshman year high school only to find out that her little sister is jealous
of all the attention she got. Oh, the sibling rivalry. Well, we're going to talk about that today
on tips on teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and Family therapist and I
specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations
teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child and Teen Counseling,
both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump on a Facebook Live
to answer your parenting questions. Let's jump into today's. I have two daughters, 15 and twelve.
My oldest struggled a lot last year. As a freshman, I had to help her a lot and spent a bunch of time
with her. Now my twelve accuses me of caring more for my 15. School is starting up again. How can
I avoid making the problem worse and keep

00:01:08 Speaker 1
the peace a little better? Thank you for your question. I think sibling rivalry is something
that pretty much all parents have had to deal with in one way or another. I think the things to
keep in mind are both your daughter's emotional needs are important and relevant and need their
attention. So your 15 year old daughter, if she still needs that kind of attention and help to
get through, to have the success that she wants to have, I encourage you to keep providing that
to her. However, if your twelve year old has a point here that she's not getting enough attention,
then you somehow you need to carve that out. Now, I know that's a lot to ask because as parents,
we don't have a lot of free time. We are busy, busy people, especially if you are a single parent,
you're even busier, and I totally get that. But your daughter's emotional needs are really
important and paramount. And if there's something rivalry sometimes not always, but sometimes
it can be because you as a parent are focusing

00:02:08 Speaker 1
so much on one child who needs it or is open to that attention, and the other one, who may not be
as open but still wants it, is now presenting it. So what I would encourage you to do, if these
two sisters can get along most of the time, maybe have a family discussion of how to balance this
out, how to make sure that both children feel that you enjoy them, that they are important to
you, that you love them and that you can spend quality time with them, or you can give them the
support they need. If having that conversation with the two of them in the room is a powder cake
wedding to explode, have it individually with each one. Talk to the younger one and say, hey,
you matter to me too. What can we be doing more. And if she goes, nothing. Nothing. And she gives
you the hard time, keep offering. Just keep offering. Even if she's pushing you away, it's more
important that you're offering, and her pushing away is less important. Eventually she will
see it, but it may be, again, that it could

00:03:06 Speaker 1
be something as simple as I want to spend more time with you playing board games, or I want to go
swimming with you, or I want to take the dog for a walk, or doesn't really matter what it is. Maybe
your younger daughter feels like she needs more help with homework as well, and that's a challenge.
There's one of you and there's two kids who need help at the same time. At that point, you may need
to lean on tutors, after school programs. There's a lot of things that you could look into, but
if you're having issue with this, you may also want to go to the school, see what programs they
have, help support kids after school to get the tutoring they need so they can get the homework
done they need. And then allowing some time for you guys to connect as a family, which is really
important. And that's even more important than homework. And that's a whole other video. But
I just want to make sure that you guys remember that homework is important, but not important
than the relationship they have

00:03:54 Speaker 1
with you, because the relation they have with you helps them identify who they are as a human
being. Anyways, that's our big question. It's a big topic. We can go a lot of different directions,
a lot of things. We don't know the details of this family, but again, make sure you're focusing
on both their emotional needs, and I think this should work out okay. That's our question for
today. If you have a question you'd like me to answer, you can email me at tips on
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Again. My name is
Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization child and Teen
Counsel fling. I'll see you next Wednesday at noon with a new question. See you then. Bye bye,

Sibling Rivalry?

Sibling rivalry is something that all parents with multiple kids will have to deal with in some way or another. Sometimes it can come out of nowhere and surprise you too! There may be times when you’re focusing a lot more on the child who has greater needs. And occasionally the child who you thought was okay off on their own expresses their jealousy or tells you they’re hurt or that they feel unloved.

Connection Is Key

In these situations it’s really important to remember that the emotional needs of all your children are relevant. How does a busy parent make both children feel like they’re getting what they need? The key is to talk to them about it, and to somehow carve out time for both of them. If you’re struggling to connect, find something your child loves to do and make sure you do it with them. There’s more to say about sibling rivalry, and we get into it in this Tips on Teens:

“I have two daughters, 15 and 12. My oldest struggled a lot last year in her freshman year.  I had to help her a lot and spend a bunch of time with her. Now my 12 accuses me of caring more for my 15 year old.  School is starting up again. How can I avoid making the problem worse and keep the peace a little better?

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.