It’s no secret that siblings fight. It’s natural but can be a real pain for parents. To help them get along, try some of these tips.
A good way to build a relationship between siblings is to make them teammates. Find ways to make them work together to accomplish something, whether it’s during family game night or putting together a puzzle, winning or finishing something difficult is a great way to build rapport.
Sometimes parents will make their child take along a younger sibling when they go places, not only as a way to force them to be together but as a way to give them a little quiet time. Although it’s great for older siblings and younger ones to spend time together, children also need to have the freedom to do things alone and may resent their sibling if they are forced to drag them along or are dragged along when they want to go somewhere.
It’s amazing how different two children can be. And that makes it easy to fall into the habit of comparing the two, but this does no one any good. If you have one child that’s a wiz in school and another who struggles, never say to the struggling child to learn from their sibling. This probably seems like common sense, but also pay attention to what kind of praise you give. Saying things like “you worked really hard on this,” sounds better than “you’re so smart.”
Teach your children how to resolve issues amongst themselves. If one of your children comes to you and says, “He hit me!” Have the child who was hit stand up for themselves instead of telling the offender to cut it out. “Tell your sister that you don’t like it when she hits you, and ask her to stop.”
Be sure to recognize your children as individuals and support their interests equally. Some children may be interested in sports while another favors art, show them that both are great. Do the same when it comes to buying toys. It may be easier to buy them the same things to avoid fights, but that doesn’t take into consideration their individual interests. Learning and using your child’s love language can also be a great way to ensure you treat them as individuals.
Try not to take sides when children fight. If your kids are arguing over who gets to play with what toy or watch what on TV, instead of taking away the item of interest, try setting clear time limits with a timer and encourage them to keep track of whose turn it is on their own.
This may go against everything you want to do, but sometimes the best way to deal with bickering siblings is to ignore them. Let them work it out on their own and only step in if someone gets hurt or one child does not have the emotional skills to resolve the conflict.
Foster a spirit of support in older siblings by encouraging them to look out for their younger sibling. There is nothing wrong with telling a child that their little brother or sister looks up to them. Be careful not to let younger siblings get away with things because of their age though. Hold them to the same standards as their older siblings as much as possible.