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Posts Tagged ‘Brothers and sisters’

How to Put an End to Sibling Rivalry (Finally!)

From Jan Brady wailing “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” to the Pearson kids on This Is Us arguing over which member of the Big Three mom loved the most, sibling rivalry is a fact of life in any family with more than one kid. After all, who hasn’t felt like the wronged child—the one who always gets the earlier bedtime or the smaller scoop of mac & cheese? And no matter how careful you are to make sure your kids feel equally loved, one of them will inevitably bust out, “Not fair, you always take her side!” You may not be able to turn your household into one big harmonious sing-along, but here are some ways to keep the squabbling to a controlled minimum.

Let them resolve their own fights.

If you take sides—especially if you weren’t there to see the whole dispute—someone will end of feeling misunderstood. Plus, kids learn more from working out their battles, says Julie Hanks, PhD, a family therapist in Salt Lake City, UT. “Look at this as a chance for them to gain valuable experience resolving conflict,” she says. Letting them work through the different stages of fighting and making up also teaches the important emotional lesson that a number of feelings toward others can coexist, including love and jealousy, says Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a family therapist in Fairfield County, CT. (Of course, if someone is about to get smacked on the head with light saber, do intervene.)

Feel everyone’s pain.

The more you can empathize with everyone in the family, the less left out anyone will feel. This is especially true when siblings are at each other’s throats. Let’s say they insist on giving you the play-by-play of their blowup. You can acknowledge their emotions without choosing sides by telling each one, “I can see how that would be upsetting.” Or: “I can tell you’re both frustrated, but I know you two will work it out.”

Help each child shine in her or her own way.

When kids grow up in a house where everyone is encouraged to develop their own unique talents, they’re less likely to compare themselves to siblings—so don’t nudge Susie into playing soccer just because it will be easier than coordinating her hip-hop dance and flute lessons with her sister’s practice schedule. “You can help kids build self-esteem by getting them involved in activities where they feel happy and accomplished,” says Greenberg.

Carve out one-on-one time.

In a large family, a child may feel lost in the crowd. That’s why Greenberg suggests having rituals you do one-on-one. It might be a regular outing (like a Saturday lunch after robotics class with Dad or a monthly mani-pedi trip with mom), or something simpler, such as a cup of tea together after school or a weekly trip to the library.

Aim for awesome.

No need to waste energy trying to prevent spats; instead, focus on building compassion and pride in each another, says Greenberg. That may sound like a gargantuan order, but it is possible. Every time you model empathy you show your kids how it’s done. Talking to one child about his sibling’s feelings may tame anger and jealousy, says Greenberg. You might even throw out a compliment-for-two, like, “Oliver has come a long way with the cello. Thanks for helping him!”


This article was written by Lisa Lombardi from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Siblings: First Friends

Siblings play a huge role in each other’s lives. Many siblings who are close in age become each other’s first friend. You can encourage a strong, long-term bond by letting your older child take care of his new brother or sister as much as possible.Siblings

Children learn a lot from their parents, and they also learn a lot from their siblings. It is best to encourage our children to have strong connections with one another for them to achieve stable social and emotional development. When children are close with their siblings, the transition to making friends at school is much easier. With siblings who are farther apart in age, the older child becomes a teacher who can explain how to make friends at school and how to behave in the classroom.

Along with being the first born, which is special in itself, your older child now has the extra special responsibility of being a role model for his little brother or sister.

What are some ways you encourage your children to bond with one another?

The Birth of a New Sibling – What to Do?

Nothing unsettles the lives of children quite like the birth of a sibling: special event for parents = profound disruption of familial bliss for children. Some children take it in stride, but the majority may not. Having a sibling forces children to share the wealth in an important and healthy adaptation to living in the real world. Here are a few ideas about how to ease the pain, and promote the joy:

  • ‘Me, myself and I’ – The mantra of toddler-hood reminds us that 18 to 24 months finds most kids falling short of being able to participate in the care of a younger sibling. They have just begun to take care of their own business, so looking after someone else’s (with whom you have to share mom and dad) is annoying to say the least.
  • By 48 months: Children are able to feel some ownership of a new baby – rocking, diapering, comforting, and playing with a baby are possible, if not always high on their list of fun things to do. They own enough familial territory by now that they can afford to share.
  • A younger sibling often adores an older sibling. Teach your older one (don’t ignore the boys) to be tender and gentle when holding or feeding the baby. This is great training for future intimacy and competent parenting.
  • Preserve time alone with your older children several times a week. They may no longer be the ‘only,’ but they are the still the ‘first,’ and certain privileges pertain, along with new responsibilities!
  • Don’t underestimate how your own experience as a sibling -in a particular birth order – affects your perception of your children’s experience. You may be off by a mile in your evaluation of your child’s jealousy of a new baby if you are the baby in your own family, or the first-born.Keep the dialogue open with your children about the shape of their sibling relationships and you will learn a lot.