When Siblings Vie Over Toys


I did not grow up with such wonderful sibling relationship. My eldest sister once pulled my hair for not washing the dishes. The memories haunted me up to today.

Now being a mother of two, I will do everything I can to foster good relationship between my kids. The truth is that little children will tend to disagree, especially over toys. You can hear screaming or shouting and in some cases, children can get physical by hurting each other.

It does not matter if you have 2 or 6 children, as long as your rules are firm, children will obey and this will reduce the tendency of vying for toys. Now, in most cases as I observed, caregivers and parents are at loss. I would say it is truly the responsibility of parents to be the mediator and problem solver if any disagreement that arise. This can prevent sibling relationships from turning sour. Parents are to encourage sharing and taking turns regardless of birth order. What does this means? It means that you dont’t always have to ask the older child to give way to the younger one. I would say, be fair and use the same rules – on every child.

If any child starts to snatch, always ask him or her to return first and ask in a proper way. In other words, put them back to status quo and the child who wants the toy must request politely; not by snatching. One will not be able to get any toy if one snatches. On the other hand, the other child should also be encouraged to give way or play for few minutes before giving way. Depending on your child’s age and speech ability, you can use words according to their level of understanding.

The common situation happens is that one child snatches from the other and you hear either one say “I took it first!!” But how would you know who was ‘first’ and whose words should you trust? Being neutral, you can tell both that if they do not learn to share, that toy will be stored away. It is better to take turns to play. By saying that, most kids will co-operate and you are actually sending out message to the person who snatch not to do it again.

Sometimes the situation may seem tough and uncontrollable when either child refuses to give way. Listen, as a parent, it is best to solve to root of the problem and be firm. Settle the vying once and for all and you will achieve a peaceful home.

Justina Wang