Sibling rivalry is a common issue that many parents face. Maybe you even grew up fighting with your brothers and sisters...Maybe you even fought a lot. That doesn't mean it has to be the same for your kids. Let go of stereotypes and learn some ways to help your kids cherish one another.
Get to know your kids
Children are people too. Don't forget, everyone has different personalities and different needs when it comes to attention, discipline, praise and love. Learn your kids' individual personality types and model how they best communicate to their siblings. If you have older kids you can even have conversations with them about how to best speak to one another. A family that can properly communicate is a peaceful family. Additionally, children who can adapt their communication skills to different needs are learning life long lessons that will be useful outside of the family too!
Don't perpetuate stereotypes
When kids aren't getting along, avoid acting like it's normal. Children perceive stereotypes much younger than you'd expect. Be sure to confront the issues your children are having and help them work through any problems together. You can sit down with them and act as a peer mediator to help them talk through their issues. Once you come up with a solution, be sure to praise them both for working it out. Kids feed off of attention so giving them attention for the good things they do can encourage more of the positive behavior we like to see as parents.
Who doesn't like presents? Kids love receiving gifts. It doesn't seem to make a difference if they are getting a pony or a handmade card, anything they receive, that is especially for them, is exciting! During holidays and birthdays encourage your children to make or purchase gifts for one another. You will love watching them think about what their sibling would like to receive. The process of trying to make the perfect thing for a brother or sister will get them thinking about each other as individuals who deserve their love and appreciation. We guarantee this is a family tradition you will all enjoy!
Get out of the house and explore together. Most children thrive off of having activities going on. Less time sitting around the house can mean less time to get bored and start fighting. Plan some fun family outings that the kids will really enjoy.
- Go out for frozen yogurt.
- Enjoy a day at the park.
- See a baseball game together.
- Check your community calendar for kid friendly plays.
- Visit your local museum.
- Enjoy a day at the beach or a weekend camping.
- Go on a family hike or bike ride.
A fair amount of sibling fighting is due to sibling rivalry. Give kids opportunities to spend one-on-one time with mom or dad. When they know they have your undivided attention for some time they may be less likely to literally fight for it at home.
Photo Credit: Little Miss Eclectic Photography