Parents often dream of having the perfect family with sweet and respectful children who always love one another. Then you wake up to the yelling, fighting, and name calling from your own children and realize it may have really just been a dream.
Perfection is rarely attainable, but let’s explore 5 ways to influence kids to become better friends with their siblings.
Brothers and sisters can squabble. Sometimes these squabbles dissipate, and unfortunately sometimes they can last a lifetime. It is up to parents to guide their children toward an appreciation for and love of all their family members, including that annoying little sister.
So, how is it done?
Let It Be
Like the song, there are times it is best to ignore an argument between your children unless it becomes physical. If that sounds like a cop out, consider it more of an opportunity for the kids to work it out themselves. Try to tune out the disagreement, and let them find a way to work out a solution without you always getting in the middle.
Don’t underestimate the value of humor when children are squabbling. A big smile and the message to “fight nice,” can do wonders to diffuse a negative situation.
Humor can help kids find ways to manage their anger. Once they crack a smile, suggest they go outside and ride their bike, shoot hoops, drink a glass of cold water, or take deep breaths to calm themselves down.
Share Your Own Family Discords
If possible, be a role model for your kids when communicating with your own siblings. If they live nearby, discuss how much they mean to you now, that they are one of your best friends, they are someone you can always count on, and how much you love them. Remind them that you and your siblings were once young just like them, and how much you value them today.
Avoid Taking Sides
Walking into a disagreement and stating what you see (rather than getting in the middle of it) is the perfect opportunity to help kids learn to problem solve. Once you tell them your impressions of the situation, allow each child to give their sides or point of view, and then you can have them provide some options for how to resolve the issue.
Seek Out Acts of Kindness
Many times the older sibling becomes the protector of the smaller, younger, or more vulnerable sibling(s). Acknowledge this nurturing emotion and give appropriate praise.
Note times when one sibling is kind to another even in the smallest ways, like sharing a treat, or playing a game and including everyone. Then make time once a week to list the many ways you noticed kindness between siblings.
At dinner there can be a chance to have each of your kids explain why they appreciate someone else in the family. This can be a surprisingly valuable way to encourage love and respect for all family members.
Yes, there will still be childish arguments, but the more positive opportunities your children will enjoy with their brothers and sisters can influence kids to become friends with their siblings.
If you struggle with a child who will not get along with their siblings, make an appointment with Kids First Pediatrics of Raeford & Fayetteville for an evaluation and the development of additional strategies.