Raising siblings who get along!
May 19 , 2022
Raising children who get along genuinely is a challenge, but the benefit will stick to them throughout their adult lives when they choose freely to support and help each other, even though they might think differently.
What can you do?
Cultivate everyday opportunities for fun and joyous time together. watching cartoons together or doing puzzles it's more than enough. Do they like any sports, games, or activities where they can form a team? Washing the car might be a fun activity they can do together and create memorable memories.
Model the behavior you'd like to see!
Kids look up to their parents, and it's everyone's responsibility to contribute positively to the family's wellbeing. When conflicts appear, give guidance on how to work it out, find their own solutions, or ask for adults' help, but consider each other's feelings.
Help children master self-control, empathy, and talking!
While we can accept any emotions, we cannot accept any behavior (like hitting, yelling, and so on). Help them solve their conflicts through discussions and encourage them to come together to a solution. And normalize differences, we all have differences in our lives, but we get to work things out even though we might feel differently about a subject.
Teach conflict skills!
Help express their feelings and wants in a more peaceful way. Instead of the classical "I hate you!" you can help them identify the real problem and how they really feel, like "You are probably upset/sad/angry BECAUSE your brother did that, and you wanted him to stop, so you hit him." You can be upset/sad/angry, but hitting hurts. Next time, you might ask your brother to STOP that because you don't like it."
Don't force sharing!
Model generosity and encourage it as well when it comes to siblings playing together or alone with mutual toys and games.
*Offer them toys that they can share while playing, like a Quiet Book that encourages quiet and creative play. They have to create their own storyline, learning things like buttoning and unbuttoning, telling time, tying shoelaces, zipping and unzipping, and more. They can work on each page individually or together. It's up to them.
Don't compare children! NEVER!
There is no bad or good kid in the house, everyone is best at something, and it's unique, and we value each one of them. We might have difficult times, but we work on those things as a family.
Each family member can see something kind or positive that another member of the family has done or said during the day. Encourage saying just one thing they appreciate about their siblings every day. It can be as simple as "I appreciated when mom made my favorite breakfast" or more complex as "I appreciated when Mark patiently waited for me to finish my favorite cartoon, so after he could watch his."
Please don't force it. Each child needs their personal space, time, and friends. Sharing the room, the toys, and so on isn't always easy, so they might need their own things and activities that don't include their brothers or sisters. Build strong relations with each of them, make them feel accepted as they are, encourage a gently positive relationship with their siblings, and just give it time.