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Harmonious siblings…is there such a thing?



Mommy blogger suggests eight tips to help your kids stay friends

kids, siblings, rivalry, parents, peace, tips


When Tommy of the Smothers Brothers comedy duo joked repeatedly, “Mom always liked you best,” he was playing on our painful awareness of how friction can arise between siblings. Most of us make an effort not to favor one child over another, but parents will help their kids get along even better by following these tips from the blog MamaSmiles.

Schedule family activities.

Bonds are fortified when the family spends time together regularly, in situations where you can interact, talk, laugh. Possible activities to share include taking walks, making art or crafts, playing age-appropriate versions of chess, Monopoly and listening to music.

Give kids a chance to solve their own conflicts.

They need to practice negotiation skills, and they often come up with great, fair solutions. Intervene only when necessary.

Emphasize problem-solving.

If you do have to step into an argument, don't be distracted by the kids' accounts of the conflict. Focus on how to solve the problem they're fighting over. Also be aware of predisposing causes such as hunger, being tired or lack of individual attention from parents.

Make respect important.

Teach your kids to treat each other with respect, even when they don't understand each other's emotions. Make sure to model the same respect in your relationships with them.

View each child as an individual.

Resist the urge to pigeonhole or label kids by identifying them by their talents or emphasizing their birth order. The less you label them, the more freedom they'll have to follow their own interests and not feel constrained by your view of them and their siblings.

Prioritize people over objects.

If your kids insist on fighting over a toy, it's appropriate to refuse to allow either of them to play with the toy for a while. Show them that their relationship is more important than their possessions.

Comment on kindness.

Notice when they do nice things for each other, however small, and let them know you appreciate such kindnesses. 

Read books on the topic.

Recommended books include Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012) and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings by Laura Markham (TarcherPerigee, 2015).



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