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Happy Siblings, Happy Life

Posted on 11-10-2016

All siblings experience some degree of sibling rivalry, but establishing good relationships between your children is a gift that will last a lifetime. Friends come and go, but brothers and sisters will always be there for each other when the times get tough.

Start working on encouraging these four things in your children as early as you can. Great relationships can start from the crib!

  • Work together.

Have your children work together! Give them chores to do together, or problems to solve together. Dependence on one another is one of the best ways to create a good relationship. This is also a great time for kids to recognize the strengths of their brothers or sisters. “Maybe they’re not so bad after all. . . .”

  • Learn conflict resolution together.

When they do start fighting, don’t separate them! Make them work it out between themselves. Stand close by to make sure a referee is not needed, but don’t be too quick to jump in. Learning to resolve conflict between each other is key to a healthy relationship.

  • Emphasize strengths.

Sometimes the best punishment for fighting is to make them praise each other! “Did you call your brother a name? How about choosing a different word that shows love and kindness instead.” Replace insults with compliments. Instead of pointing out weaknesses, emphasize strengths!

  • Promote empathy.

Perhaps a more accurate quote would be “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cut deeper still.” Encourage your children to feel for each other, and help them understand the impact that they can have on the life of their sibling. Empathy is very important. “How did that make him feel? How can you make him feel better?” Understanding that everyone has emotions is foundational to every child’s development.

Even though you probably want to pull your hair out as they pull each other’s hair out, remember that keeping a positive attitude will give you the upper-hand! Don’t let them get the best of you, but instead give them ample opportunities to team up and encourage one another as they learn to be best friends.

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