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11/Sep/2020

LIKE SUGAR AND SPICE, SIBLINGS MAKE THINGS NICE!

Sibling is the best gift parents give to their child. The bond between siblings is a beautiful one, but the rivalry between them is inevitable,  especially in the growing years. In simple terms, sibling rivalry is the competition and fighting or jealousy between siblings. It usually starts after the birth of the second child due to a sense of insecurity. Many factors contribute to sibling rivalry.

Each child in the world is different and has his/her own set of talents and interests. When one child feels that the other is getting more importance probably because of being more intellectual or gifted,  he/she may just attract the parent’s attention by picking up fights.

When there is no family time, a fight occurs. Even parents’ stress is also an important contributing factor. Hunger or boredom of children may initiate fights. Children with special needs may demand more attention and time of the parents leading to the feeling of being left over by the other one. The clothes or the toys of the elders sibling are usually  passed on to the younger one which is also a contributing factor as it happens in most of the households.

The children may show signs of anger like yelling, throwing or breaking things / lying, hiding, name calling and arguing, fighting or voicing feelings of envy. Since sibling rivalry usually starts after second baby’s arrival, adequate preparation helps. While the mother is pregnant, the elder one should be involved in all activities and preparations of the younger one like buying toys, clothes, toys, arranging the cupboard, decoration, etc.

The management of this rivalry may be difficult, but is not impossible. Let the child be himself or herself and express his or her emotions. There should be no physical punishment whatsoever. A good amount of family time spent together in playing games or having family trips often helps. No two children should be ever compared. Rather, they should be encouraged to do and enjoy things together like playing in the rain, doing pillow fights, etc. They should be asked to make greetings cards together for family members birthdays or special days.

Parents can try to spend ‘one on one’ kid time and talk about the negatives and positives of other sibling too.

BUT WHAT TO DO WHEN A FIGHT STARTS?

It is best for the parents not to get involved unless they need to intervene to prevent physical injury.

Parents interference may become habitual for the children and maybe looked upon as rescue.

Be calm and in control. Try to separate out the siblings giving them space of their own. Let them be!

Avoid favouring. Do not play blame game. You will realize that children will be together after a while.

Children learn to manage conflict and resolve differences.

A ‘green to red’ light strategy may be followed for management of sibling rivalry.
  • Green – minor name calling, Parents  should try to stay out.
  • Yellow – nasty name calling, Parents have to listen each child’s viewpoint.
  • Orange – when fights become serious or dangerous, Parents need to firmly stop.
  • Red – when the situation gets out of control or dangerous, psychological help needed.

If we try to look at the positives, sibling rivalry teaches some values, feelings of compromise,  sharing, negotiation,  etc. which help the children in the long run.

Interestingly, sibling rivalry is not just a trait of homo sapiens, but also seen in other species. A black eagle mother lays two eggs,  the first hatched egg pecks the younger one, also the blue-footed booby bird. Even literature has examples of sibling rivalry, like three rivalrous daughters of Shakespeare and the story of Cain & Able.


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04/Jun/2020

 I remember the days a few decades ago, when it was time to get our answer sheets after the exams.

Our hearts would go thumping with an extra lub-dup.

There used to be a cyclone inside till the marks were released. This tsunami of thoughts would last for a few minutes, a few hours, may be few days for some. A few would show that they are not interested and the rest would just pack the sheets in the bags which were square shaped those times.

I had forgotten those mid-school years but am experiencing the same cyclone when my daughter is in the same boat. I wouldn’t be affected by marks at this stage of life, but her sessions of crying and getting upset for 0.5 or 1 mark every now and then, would bring out the fire ball of anger from within her.

I would explain to her that a mark here or there would not matter in the long-run, but conceptual learning would do. Listening to this, my younger son had to tell her one day  “Didi just believe in yourself. “We don’t have to make a pickle out of the marks obtained” as mom always says.

I wonder why couldn’t our education system change over all these decades.

Learning can not be quantitative as someone has said, but the stakes are still attached to scores.

The short term memory is still regurgitated and evaluated. Would we ever be able to understand the concept of HOLISTIC LEARNING and “KNOW THYSELF”

WISHFUL  THINKING!


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31/Mar/2020

Babies have a natural sucking reflex which develops during the intra uterine life, persists during early infancy and facilitates breast feeding.

Interestingly thumb sucking behaviour is also found in chimpanzees and captive ring tailed lemurs. Thumb sucking is one of the most common habits of children but most of them stop thumb sucking on their own by the age of 2-4 years.

It has an incidence of about 25% in < 2 years and 15% under 5 years.

However if  thumb sucking behaviour persists beyond a certain age as a sort of self comforting ritual, it becomes a matter of concern for the parents.


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07/Mar/2020

A baby comes crying into this world. Crying is also an essential ways of communication by the child with his caregivers. But excessive / fussy crying may become a matter of distress for the baby ,parents and the family.

Baby colic or infantile colic is defined as episodes of crying for > 3 hours a day for >3 days a week for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child.

The episodes start suddenly usually in the evening. It may start at 2-3 weeks of age but peaks around 6 weeks and persists till 6 months. It is seen in about 25% of the normal newborns.

Associated symptoms include flushed face, clenched hands and legs pulled to the stomach.


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25/Feb/2020

Nocturnal Enuresis or Bed Wetting as is commonly called, is an involuntary urination during sleep in a child older than 5 years of age. However it may not just be only nocturnal, may be also present during the day (in 25% of children). Normally 90-95% of children are nearly completely dry during the day and 80-85% by night by 5 years of age. It is a cause of substantial psychological distress in children and even their families.

The prevalence is difficult to assess in the Indian scenario as it may be hidden by most of the parents due to social stigma attached to it or would be just brought up as a secondary problem when the child visits the pediatricians’ clinic.


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10/Feb/2020

We all have been gifted with a pair of eyes as sense organs of sight to enjoy the world around us and it is our duty to protect ourselves and our children from the overuse of the screen.

Today’s children and even adults are immersed in the well of digital media which has a powerful impact on the all round development of the child. Not only the blue light from our phones, ipads, laptops, tablets harm the eyes but also affect the other systems too.


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