Moms to all boys will likely agree that their natural competitiveness makes for an interesting home dynamic. But, sometimes, their competitiveness can get out of control making you want to pull your hair out at the roots. Here are some tips to help.

I'm faster than you! Words I hear daily from one or all of my three sons. It seems to be the natural inclination of the male species to turn everything into a competition. Sadly, it was also turning my home into a mad house. Their daily competitions were quickly escalating into full-on brawls that often ended in hurting feelings and/or injuries. Fortunately, with a few deliberate tweaks to my parenting we've been able curb their excessive competitiveness and even reduce regular sibling rivalry.

Promote group success

Kind of the same thing as groupthink, but with way better outcomes. In an effort to promote conformity and a harmonious living environment for the entire family, I started focusing on their accomplishments as a whole instead of on the things they were achieving independently. I let them know that I didn't care who put away their toys the fastest, instead I cared about how nice of a job they did working together to clean the room. Of course they still receive praise when they meet their personal goals or earn an award that is above and beyond what's expected, but high-fiving the good things they do when working together lets them know that we just love that behavior so much more.

Acknowledge real accomplishments

Not praising every random achievement at our house has definitely helped my boys stop trying so hard.

I'm a firm believer in the fact that kids of today are over praised. I'm all over positive reinforcement and daily fist bumps to promote awesomeness, but I don't think kids need to be praised for meeting regular life expectations (like finishing kindergarten). Not praising every random achievement at our house has definitely helped my boys stop trying so hard. And, by trying so hard I mean, breaking out into a fist fight to be the one who brings me my purse. They still use good manners and do nice things for each other, but that's because we expect them to.

Be attentive

At our house, more than half of the squabbles my boys get into start with their desire to be the center of my attention. When I take time to engage with them, as a group or separately, they don't have to push each other around to get my attention. They're just like a bunch of high school boys horsing around and trying to get some cute cheerleader's attention. I'm the cute cheerleader, of course!

Just separate them

When worse comes to worse, just banish them to separate rooms. As much as these kids fight, nothing settles them down faster than telling them they have to be apart. Personally, a time-out with no one yelling at me, clinging to me, or making demands sounds amazing, but for them, not so much! Everyone needs some down time to refocus and time alone to learn independence, so a little separation may be just what the sibling rivalry ordered.

Celebrate their individuality

Having kids of the same sex, it's sometimes hard to differentiate them because it's so easy to lump them into a group together, sign them up for the same sports, buy them the same clothing, make them share toys. However, just like it's important to give them personal attention, it's also necessary to celebrate the awesome tidbits that make them different. One of my sons is really amazing at basketball, while another has read the most books of any child in his grade. Celebrating those individual differences make it so that they don't feel like they have to compete at every single thing.

More on sibling rivalry

Should you be concerned with sibling squabbles?
Constructive sibling rivalry: How the Harbaugh's got it right
Tame sibling rivalry

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