Whether your children love to play together or just constantly have conflicts for no reason, helping them to develop a good sibling relationship is necessary. Parents play a key role in helping their kids to nurture a good relationship and reduce rivalry or conflict. Research has shown that sibling connection when we were young plays a major role in how we will interact in other relationships with friends, partners, and others in life. So, here are a few ways for how to encourage good sibling relationships for you and your kids.
Don’t Compare Your Children to Each Other
First and foremost, you shouldn’t say things like “Why can’t you listen as well as your sister does?” or “Your little brother never talks back to me like that.” Comparing your children to each other is not a good idea because it stokes the fires of rivalry and builds resentment. And, no one likes to be compared with others, especially when it’s their own siblings! So, instead of that, try to put the other sibling out of the conversation as much as possible.
Figure Out What’s Behind the Conflicts
From competing for toys or your attention to just being bored, there are a variety of reasons behind sibling conflict. Once you see a pattern that can explain this behavior, try to address those issues to minimize their squabbles. For example, you can try spending one-on-one time with each child or try to help them find a better way to deal with the problem. Don’t let them solve it by themselves because most of the time, things get worse without parent’s interference.
Teach them to Appreciate their Differences
Every kid is unique! So, when children have very different interests and temperaments, conflicts can naturally occur. The important thing is to teach them how to respect those differences. For example, if one wants to choose a family activity that incorporates a lot of action when their sibling wants to do something quiet and low-key, parents can set up a system where they can work together to plan how to take turns or find other common interests that are interesting for both.
Let them Work as A Team
One of the best ways to build a sense of teamwork and cooperation among people is by engaging in activities that require working together. Actually, this is quite similar to a team building in your company. So, you can try something like that with your kids. Either by having them work together on a project or assisting each other with chores. Or, come up with a small project, such as painting a spare room or cleaning the garage. Just make sure they work together to get it done!
Other ideas for activities are letting them prepare dinner, building a pillow fort, or just playing board games on the same team. Also, you can have them race against the grownups in your family to see which team works better. Also, remind them to work together toward a common goal which is beating mom and dad.
Encourage Good Listening Skills
The ability to truly listen to what someone is saying is an important skill for kids to develop. Learning this helps them to empathize with others and see things from someone else’s point of view better. So, let them have some quality time to talk about their feelings to each other. And, be sure that you are there to explain everything.
Learn How to Respect Each Other
Whether it’s between friends, partners, or siblings, respect is essential for every relationship. Remind your kids that they should treat others like the way they want to be treated. Respect can be just talking to each other by using a nice or at least not unpleasant tone, even when disagreeing. For instance, if your kid doesn’t like their sibling using their things without permission, try to put the other one in that same condition (if possible). Being in other people’s positions can help them understand and respect others more.
Show them How To Disagree Respectfully
Sometimes, even the closest people can disagree with each other. But, it’s how we handle those disagreements that matter. Teach your children that they might not always understand each other, but that they shouldn’t let arguments affect their positive interactions. And, most of all, never engage in physical fighting. On top of that, you and your partner can make an example of you to disagree respectfully for them to learn.
Have Fun Together As a Family
Families who have fun activities together regularly will be less likely to have conflicts between siblings or even parents. Try to choose games and activities that can be enjoyed by everyone, such as traveling, watching movies, or playing games. The more time your kids spend together with the whole family, the fewer chances they can fight!
In addition, explain to your children that family, especially siblings can be the kind of unshakable love that cannot easily be matched. Remind them that while they may often prefer their friends over their brother or sister now, they will become more important to each other when they grow up. This is a message that is worth repeating, and one that they will eventually grow to realize as they get older.
By using these techniques, we hope that you can help your kids develop a good sibling relationship in no time. If you have any questions or want to share your story with other moms, feel free to talk about it in the comments!