“Siblings are the only enemies we can’t live without”
Your relationship with your siblings is one of the longest relationships of all. Friends may come and go; your partners may come and go but your siblings will remain with you forever.
People who have positive sibling relationships have higher life satisfaction and lower rates of depression. It is mostly the siblings who always provide emotional and psychological support to each other during testing times. Irrespective of how far away siblings stay from each other, the bond will always remain intact. Having grown up in the same environment, your siblings share the common memories and similar experiences.
Siblings are not just family, they can become best friends too and a part of who you are. So, no doubt that sibling relationships are unique. But as parents, how do we ensure that our children have healthy and positive relationship with their siblings?
We share with you some useful tips to build positive sibling relationships.
Understand that each child is different physically, socially and emotionally. For example, one of your children may be physically strong but may be an introvert. Another child may be an extrovert but artistically inclined.
Try not to say things like, “Your brother is such a great artist, why don’t you pick up the skill from him?” or “Your sister is very active and good in sports. Why don’t you learn from her?”.
Comparing your children to each other is a sure way of building sibling rivalry.
Treat your kids fairly and equally. Always praise and discipline them equally. Divide your time between both the kids such as helping them in their homework and studies or accompanying them to events and games or spending leisure time.
When your children have a fight, always listen to both sides of the argument.
Engage your kids in activities and other household chores together to build cooperation among each other and also, to support and stand by each other as a team. You can assign simple tasks like helping each other clean up their rooms or wash their bikes or help in household work.
Also Read: 10 Principles of Good Parenting
Mutual respect is the most important ingredient in any relationship. Highlight the importance of listening to each other. Let them know that it is important to treat others the same way they expect others to treat them. Make them understand that even during a disagreement, they should never put down their sibling’s opinions or be unmindful of their sibling’s space and belongings.
No matter how much we love each other as a family, disagreements do happen. Teach your children that disagreements are a part of life and we should never let disagreements affect our lives. Make your kids understand that no matter what disagreements they have, they should not call each other names or hate each other or engage in physical fighting.
Unless your kids spend time with each other, there is no way they can develop a bond. Allow them to play games and have fun at home. Encourage them to share the happenings throughout the day or about their friends to each other. Take them together to the park or for a walk or for any activity during which they can bond.
And yes, allow your kids to spend time away from each other. Let each child spend some time each day with their own group of friends, or each one can go to a different hobby class or sports camp separately. This will help them to develop their social skills and mingle easily with other kids.
Families which have fun together are less likely to have conflicts. Spend time with your children playing board games or card games. Participate together in activities like group exercises or bike riding etc. You can even watch a children’s movie together or visit an amusement park or take a vacation together.
Explain and help your children understand what being a family means, and how important sibling relationships become when they grow old. Help them understand that though friends seem important now, as they grow up the siblings become important, as they are the ones who have shared the same experiences as you and are placed in a better position to understand you.
No matter how strong and loving you are as a family, sometimes parenting becomes more like the job of a match referee. But as a parent, you have to be patient and ensure that you build positive relationship between your children because siblings are the family that your kids will be left with once you depart from this world.
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