When you introduce a new baby into the family, you may want your older child(ren) to be as excited as you are. But it’s not an easy transition for them because they are going to experience a lot of priority changes. If you can maintain good one-on-one time with your older kid(s), you can easily prevent sibling jealousy. Parents play a vital role in building strong sibling relationships and reducing sibling conflict. You can simply achieve this by engaging them in team activities, having fun together, and giving them the right tools, toys, and time to work out conflicts in a respectful manner.
Is Sibling Conflict Common?
Yes. It is a normal part of development. A little amount of conflict is good for them but it should not go beyond the healthy zone. It’s not easy to maintain the zone but it’s possible.
A normal conflict involves changes of opinion, interactions, hurting feelings, and hitting. But there is always a scope for repair and forgiveness in such conflicts. In such fights, siblings show some acts of kindness, and compromise after a fight, they care for each other’s needs and get to understand each other in a better way. However, you need to be attentive if the fight turns out to be jealousy and hatred.
Why is Sibling Relationship Important?
Siblings are the pillar of support in the absence of parents or caregivers. Building strong sibling relationships can be life-changing during emotional breakdowns. Kids with siblings have good childhood experiences and become better people. They become more lovable, desirable, and friendly.
Here are Some Tips to Build Strong Sibling Relationships
Never Compare Kids
If you constantly compare your kids, you should stop it right away. Comparing them with each other is a sure way to fire rivalry among siblings. Do not expect all your kids to behave the same way as the other.
Find Out the Root Cause of the Fight
Do you notice frequent fights between siblings? Slow down, and watch out for the real cause. Check if their fight is just an outbreak of boredom or attention seeking or something else. Once you understand their pattern of behavior, you will be able to minimize the issue. Some kids fight for attention and others for privacy. So, it is better to sit and talk with your kids to sort out the differences.
One kid may sit quietly and read while the other loves playing out in the sun. It is common for kids to have very different interests which can eventually lead to comparison and fighting. Parents should understand the differences, then teach kids to respect those differences. One child may choose a family activity and the other wouldn’t love such activities. You need to find out common interests and engage them in a way it turns out to be fun for both/all siblings.
Engage Them in Teamwork
Try to involve all siblings in a group activity such as painting a room, cleaning the lawn, sweeping, or preparing dinner. Try to make the kids one team and grownups another and encourage them to do different tasks together as a team. This will build strong sibling relationships faster.
Teach Them the Importance of Listening
Listening is an important life skill and it helps in development. Encourage siblings to talk to each other and listen to their needs. They should learn to empathize and respect the opinions and thoughts of others.
Respect Each Other
Listening promotes respect. Whether it’s friends, relatives, peers, or siblings, showing respect for each other is very important. Kids should learn to treat others the same way they’d love to be treated. Respect includes pleasantly talking to them, being mindful, giving others the desired space, and so on. For example, one should not go to his/her sibling’s room without permission.
It’s Okay to Disagree
Siblings do not have to agree on everything they do. They can respectfully disagree. Teach your children to always see things from both sides. Empathizing is an effective quality that can encourage positive interactions. When they feel it’s not right, they can always disagree and do not have to blindly follow whatever their siblings say.
Increase Family Time
If you find yourself spending less time with your family, it’s high time you consider some changes. If you notice silly fights and talks between siblings, take them out for a vacation where you can sit and talk. Remind your kids how important it is to have siblings as they grow up. While they may not be able to understand the bond completely, they will realize the importance of family time which can bring in a lot of positive changes.
Never Play Favourites
According to a research, parents do show preferential treatment toward one child. This is a universal problem. Though there’s no easy way to avoid this, parents should take effort to treat every kid equal. If you can refrain from favoritism, your kids will enjoy themselves and become better siblings.
Take a second to assess the situation and initiate a conversation with your kids. But don’t forget to tell them the importance of family and relationships. Do not expect changes to happen immediately. It will happen slowly and your kids will have strong sibling relationships in the future if you nurture them properly.