A certain amount of competitiveness might be healthy, but if you're fed up with your daughters' constant rivalry, it's time to put a stop to it. While sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up, it doesn't mean you have to spend your days listening to the two of them fight about anything and everything. Taking steps to keep the peace improves their relationship and keeps you from going crazy.
Why It Happens
Understanding why your daughters are so competitive with each other is an ideal first step for getting them to tone it down. Your younger daughter might compete with her older sister because she doesn't feel like she measures up, notes psychologist Sylvia Rimm, author of "See Jane Win," on her website. Older girls might compete with younger ones for parental attention. Each of your daughters likely feels she needs to be the best at something and receive recognition for her skills. So they compete with the other to show off what they are good at. While this is normal, helping your girls scale back can make them happier and more relaxed without compromising their sister relationship.
One of the most important things for parents to do is to avoid comparing their children, according to the University of Michigan Health System. This means you should never compare your daughters' skills or place labels on them. Don't call one of them your smart one and the other your creative one. Avoid highlighting one daughter's skills and asking the other why she can't do the same. Let your girls be who they are and encourage them to pursue their passions and spend time on things they excel at. Feeling this acceptance from you goes a long way toward keeping the competition at bay.
Instead of pitting your girls against each other, foster a sense of teamwork, suggests the University of Michigan Health System. Instead of having them race to see who can finish homework first or compete to see who has the cleanest room, expect them to work together until they both reach the goal. This allows your girls to feel a sense of togetherness and gives them the opportunity to help each other when needed to get the job done. One might give the other a hand in figuring out her math problems, and the other might help tidy the bedrooms so they can both go to the pool or see a movie with friends. This sense of teamwork, rather than competition, can help your girls stick together rather than see who is better at a given activity.
Sisters don't want or need to spend all their time together. Allowing each her own space to do her own thing helps her build on her identity and grow to like who she is, rather than wanting to be like her sister. You can do this by setting aside time to spend with each of your daughters alone. Go out to dinner, stroll the mall together or even take one at a time to the grocery store with you. As you hang out, listen to your daughter talk and you're bound to find out what she loves about her sister and what makes her feel like competing with her. This way, you can work with each girl to keep competitiveness to a minimum for everyone's benefit.