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Siblings' rivalry is as old as the first pair of siblings-Cain and Abel and the successor classical twins, Esau and Jacob, in the Bible. It has also left in its wake macabre bitterness that consumed innocent in-coming generation.

In the first pair, no mention is made of the role of their parents in their murderous crisis. There is no indication also that their parents did a yeoman's job of parenting. But Isaac and Rebecca (Esau and Jacob's parents) were a worthy example of what parents must never be to their children. Playing favourites, highly flammable liquid in parenting, was their favourite pastime.

Parents have continued to be the remote and immediate cause of crisis amongst their children from then on.

Contemporary history points us to the German founders of Adidas and Puma - two brothers who bitterly fought themselves till their last breath. The establishment of Puma was the by product of that crisis.

US millionaires Prestley and Curtis Blake of Friendly's Ice cream and British politicians, David and Ed Miliband.

Don't miss it. Making siblings become like peas in a pod is one of the fundamental duties of parents. It is an error with dark consequences to think that children will love themselves on the strength of biology - they came forth from same mother. Wrong! You have to work it out for them.

Les Csorba, lawyer, former Bush White House Advisor and theologian insists that "parenting is the single most demanding leadership job on the planet". Nothing could be truer.

Parents are EVERYTHING to their children. Provider (of almost all things), Spiritual leader/mentor and, last but not the least, judge.

Parents must therefore take the following recommended practical steps to avoid rivalry amongst their children as they are being raised.

1. All your children are different but equal.

The reticent isn't better than the vivacious, or vice versa, just by reason of those attributes. Show/harbour no preference but celebrate their differences.

2. Teach (read 'enforce') your children to show mutual respect for one another.

For instance, let them cultivate the fine art of exchanging greetings when and where necessary. Do your children say 'good morning' to one another? Do they say "please" when making a request, "Thank you" for favours, etc. Perfect courtesy amongst them must be elevated to culture.

3. Outlaw( if it sounds like 'criminalise' then I achieved my goal) the use of strong and abusive language and behaviour.

"Are you stupid?", for example, is not a question but a clear insult. Its use should attract penalty when deployed repeatedly by any child, especially after warnings.

4. Misunderstandings (use loosely) are not abnormal.

Teach them to disagree without being disagreeable. I needn't remind you that when two persons *always* agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary! Teach them to politely report grievances to you. No child should be encouraged to redress his own perceived wrong.

5. As parents your sense of judgement and arbitration must be impartially sublime.

Never excuse the aggressor child (some say second children are troublesome by default, the jury is out) for any reason. Be that as it may, the 'culprit' should have his/her time/day in your court.

6. Bring your judgement/position/verdict to the attention of all the children.

Justice must be SEEN to have been done. Your judgement should be predictable always. The child who showed disrespect to his or her elder sibling should accurately forecast your judgement when the aggrieved child approaches you.

7. Give quality time to share *Life's Great Lessons* with ALL your children.

The intention is to make the house philosophy being transmitted uniform.

8. Never ever, do I say it again?

Never ever allow a whiff of the odour of preferential treatment in your house. It's nitrogen to the system.

9. Teach them what Cain wasn't taught. "They must remain one another's keepers"

For instance if they attend same school, don't allow the response to the question, "where is your brother/sister?" be: "I don't know". It's the contemporary box office hit variant of Cain's "Am I my brother's keeper?" It's a rendition of palpable irresponsibility. Don't condone it.

10. *Never ever* compare your children or their 'achievements', not to their face at least.

It breeds unhealthy competition. They are complimentary to one another not competitors.

11. *Above all, get down on bended knees, raise your head and hands up to God for each of them everyday.*




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