Parents play a key role in fostering good relationship among their kids and reducing sibling rivalry and conflict. Here are the things you can do now that will help strengthen their bonds for the rest of their lives.
Resist the urge to compare. Saying that one kid is better than the other will likely breed jealousy, resentment and sibling rivalry. Accept, respect and appreciate their differences.
Know why they squabble. Are they competing for your time and attention? Do they fight more when they are tired or bored? Once you see a pattern, you can address those issues. You can spend one-on-one time with each child or help your child find better ways to get a sibling’s attention.
Engage them in similar activities. Encourage teamwork and cooperation by having them work together on a project or a chore (e.g., painting a spare room, cleaning out the garage, helping to prepare dinner). This is an opportunity for them to help each other and develop a special bond.
Encourage good listening skills. This helps them learn to empathize with others and see things from someone else’s point of view. Make it a point to have siblings understand each other’s opinions and thoughts. Respect is essential to building good relationships, and listening is one way of showing respect for each other.
Show how to disagree respectfully. Teach your children that when they do not see eye to eye on things, they must not call each other names, let arguments affect their interactions, or engage in physical fighting.
Teach respect. Remind kids that they should treat others the way they want to be treated, with kindness and concern for their feelings. This includes talking to each other nicely, even when disagreeing, not putting down a sibling’s opinions, and being mindful of someone else’s space and belongings.
This story was published in Working Mom’s February 2015 issue. Working Mom is available in all leading bookstores. Like Working Mom on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WorkingMom.Magazine) and follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@workingmommag).
Photos by Allan Santos