While professional sports isn’t overflowing with sibling rivalries, the Manning brothers and Williams’ sisters are great examples for all youth athletes and their siblings to follow. Even if they are competing against each other Peyton and Eli, and Venus and Serena are still each other’s biggest fans. They play their hardest, respect each other as competitors, but remember they are family first when they step off the field.
Siblings are bound to compete with each other in a 101 ways, including sports. And while different kids have different skills and passions, if you have two athletes in your family it’s important to keep that sibling rivalry in athletics from affecting the family dynamic.
Recognize when you’re playing favorites.
We’re not saying that you favor one of your kids over the other, but you might love one sport more than another. For instance, if you live and breathe football it’s very easy to get really involved with your older son’s football team. You might be the coach, you’re always playing catch in the backyard, talking football at dinner, and so forth. Meanwhile, the little brother that really loves to play soccer is on the outs simply because you don’t have the same passion and knowledge of soccer. Even if you don’t love the same sport as your son or daughter it’s important that your support their love of the game as much as possible. Try to split your time evenly, both on the field and at home, so no one is left out. If you’re not careful you could be contributing to the sibling rivalry.
If your children are on the same team remember to praise both!
Twins or siblings that are close enough in age to be in the same age group might end up on the same sports team (or as the parent you might request it to make your life easier!). If they are on the same team, be sure that the car-ride home is an equal playing field, even if one child does better on the actual field that day. If one child receives all the praise and the other just gets critiqued (even if it’s constructive) it might breed a little resentment between them. What you say, what you mean, and what your kids hear can be three very different things! If sibling A is always getting told what a good job they did sibling B might start to feel like your love is directly tied to their athletic performance.
Set real ground rules for behavior among siblings.
Yes, siblings tease and taunt and get into plenty of fights. And while you can’t expect perfect children 24×7 you can set some hard and fast ground rules that are never to be broken. For instance, siblings are never allowed to make fun of each other for making a mistake on the field. Or perhaps siblings are expected to show up at each other’s games when they don’t have one of their own and cheer for each other. You have rules and consequences in place for when one siblings hits or steals from another, right? Well apply the same idea to sports and encourage your kids to be good sports no matter what.