Everyone who has a sibling brother or sister will have their own stories to tell about sibling rivalry. In our growing up years we were taught to take care of our younger siblings and respect the elder ones. Yes, of course, there were disagreements and fights, but it was all a part of our growing up years. The sibling relationship is one of the most cherished and powerful relationships. Hence in this post, we talk about How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry in children.
Siblings, whether brothers or sisters, face almost the same upbringing viz. tough situations and family problems. It is these day to day circumstances and situations that help them to bond together more strongly and become supportive of each other or to become staunch, bitter enemies.
Parents want their children to love and respect each other. As parents, we must make every effort to help our children get along and be nice to each other. Though it may seem to be a difficult task, it is not an impossible one.
How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry
Today, let us look at some tips on how to teach siblings to be kind to each other.
1. Have a supportive and friendly environment which creates opportunities for children to help each other.
Children are great observers and learn a lot of things by just observing their parents. As parents, you need to portray love and care, to your children and also to the other members of the family. Give children opportunities to help their brother or sister and then praise them for the same. For e.g., if one of your child is good in arts and craft, encourage her to help her sister with her craft project work. Further, you can give them the joint task of cleaning the room or watering the garden etc. Encourage them to finish the task together.
2. Start early in order to encourage your children to love and respect each other.
Many times parents start late in teaching their children to respect each other. It is important to know that children learn things fast and so you can start early i.e., when they are babies or toddlers. Teach your children to share things and say please and thank you. Encourage them to gently ask for toys rather than snatching toys from each other. These are small things that you can teach them early in life. These things will help them to get along with each other and also be kind to each other.
3. Teach them to respect each other and not to be physical.
Many a time siblings fight with each other and hence it is important to set boundaries early in life. Your children should know that hitting each other, being physical with each other or even calling each other names and teasing each other is a strict “NO”.
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4. Help them to resolve their arguments and differences positively.
If you have children at home, then you should not expect them to be friendly to each other all the time. There are going to arguments and disagreements amongst themselves. Encourage them to sit down and talk to each other.
If they are unwilling to talk to each other, then send them to different corners of the house and ask them to calm down till they are in a position to have a conversion. Initially, you might find it difficult but if you are consistent, then your children will soon fall in line and try to resolve their conflicts mutually. There may be situations wherein you may have to step in to resolve some conflicts. Encourage them to be a team, a part of the family (“WE”) instead of being selfish and thinking only about themselves (“ME”). As a team, they must encourage and support each other to be successful.
5. Encourage them to apologize for their mistakes.
Mistakes happen all the time, both with elders and with children. Maintain a policy of apologizing to each other for the mistakes committed. Teach them the importance of apologizing for their mistakes. We all know that when we force them to apologize, they do so as a tick in the box by just mumbling the word “sorry”, without meaning it. As parents, we should encourage them to look into each others eyes and say sorry and mean it. Tell them to make an effort to work on their behavior and avoid repeating their mistakes.
6. Praise the strengths of your children.
Each child is unique and different. Every child has unique strengths and so make it a point to acknowledge the same in front of others. This will help them understand that everyone is uniquely gifted and talented. They do not need to compete with each other to gain their parents attention. Every child should be encouraged to build on their strengths.
During family time or dinner time, speak about each child and let them know what you like the most in each of them. Do this activity in front of their siblings. Ask their views on the same. Each child should be encouraged to develop and build on their strengths. This will give them a good comfort feeling and encourage them to behave properly.
7. Teach children problem-solving skills.
One of the key things you need to teach your child is to solve their problems by themselves. Children will have a lot of things to talk about. Teach them to overlook minor things and discuss only the important things that require attention. Obliviously, this will take time as children need to properly understand what is urgent and important and what is not. Encourage them by rewarding them for solving their problems. Children who have not fought or who have proactively taken steps to resolve issues should be rewarded appropriately.
These are some important tips to encourage children to respect and be kind to each other. Some additional tips are listed below :
- Siblings should share a room.
- Do not let conflicts get out of hand. Intervene at the right time but at the same time do not intervene in every conflict.
- Set boundaries and be consistent while disciplining them.
- Do not encourage gossip or back-biting about each other.
Sibling rivalry or fights are observed only in the initial years, till a certain period of time. Once they have grown up, siblings tend to have strong relationships and most of the time they are strong supporters of each other.
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Please read our earlier article Table Manners For Kids
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