Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller View All Posts

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About Practical Parenting Strategies with Dr. Heller

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

Minimizing Sibling Rivalry

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Carey Heller: clinical psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group in Bethesda, Maryland.

Many people view some sibling rivalry as a normal part of growing up. For many parents, sibling rivalry becomes very frustrating to handle, and they worry about how their children will get along when they get older.

Here are a few basic strategies to help improve sibling relations:

1)     Help your children to find activities that they both enjoy and find opportunities for your children to participate in these activities together.

2)     If there are certain situations that tend to lead to fighting, determine if you can come up with a solution to prevent fighting from occurring (i.e., if two siblings fight over who gets to be a character in a video game, allow each sibling to have a turn, and alternate each time they play who gets to be that character first). If needed, keep track on a white board to ensure that children feel it is fair who goes first each time.

3)     Siblings often fight over fairness. While it is not always easy or even feasible to truly treat all of your children equally, trying to do so to the extent possible, and normalizing situations for your children when this is not possible, can be helpful. Even acknowledging that you strive to be fair can go a long way in some instances and with some children. If one child needs extra attention due to academic trouble, a disability or other issues, try to devote special one-on-one time to the unaffected child so that they can experience extra attention from you.

I hope that these suggestions are useful for you in curbing sibling rivalry.

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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


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