- A few tips for staying sane and helping siblings learn to respect each other -
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Have you ever felt like a failure because you couldn’t get your kids to get along with each other? In our travels, we meet parent after parent who expresses frustration… and quite a bit of self-imposed shame… over this issue.
If you are feeling this way, I hope you give yourself a break. Even the very best parents occasionally struggle with this issue. While it’s certainly true that great parenting skills increase the odds of creating well-adjusted adult children, the path toward this goal is rarely a smooth one. Listed below are just a few tips for staying sane and helping siblings learn to respect each other:
Remember that their relationship is theirs.
Each of our children is wonderfully different, and so are their relationships with each other. Trying to lecture them into liking each other is always fruitless.
Let their conflicts be their conflicts.
When we love people it’s easy to get overinvolved in the problems they are having with each other. We can give them ideas for solving their problems, but we can’t solve their problems for them.
Only when absolutely necessary, ask them to stop or separate.
Children often learn essential social and conflict resolution skills when they realize that the adults around them are slow to rescue. Nevertheless, sometimes it’s essential to our sanity and their safety to calmly, yet forcefully, intervene: “I need you to either stop that or be apart from each other until you can figure out how to solve your problem. Otherwise, I’m going to have to do something about this.”
If they refuse to comply with you, do “something.”
Those who understand Love and Logic understand it’s perfectly fine… even wonderful… to remain vague about what you are going to do about a child’s bad behavior. Sometimes it’s wise to get rid of a digital device or some other item that the kids are constantly arguing over. Sometimes it’s wise for the kids to replace the parent’s energy by doing extra chores, finding someone else to drive them to baseball practice, etc.
Remember the empathy.
Our kids will only learn empathy for each other when they see us demonstrating it to them.
For more ideas, listen to my audio, Sibling Rivalry.
Charles Fay, Ph.D. - BiographyThanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay
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