How to Establish Good Sibling Relationships

Photo: (Photo : Travis Grossen / Unsplash)

After the first child, many parents want to have another child give the firstborn a playmate; so they are not lonely. But when the children start to bicker and fight, we wonder how to make them get along. Sibling relationships are an important part of life as it can last a lifetime.

Psychology Today revealed that those who have positive sibling relationships have much higher satisfaction in life and lower rates of depression in adulthood. Also, siblings can provide support during times of illness and traumatic events. This is because they share the same parents, environment, common memories, and experiences. Sometimes no one can understand you as a sibling can.

Tips to Foster Positive Sibling Relationships

Laurie Kramer, a clinical psychologist and professor at North Eastern University, advised families to make sure siblings spend positive and meaningful time together every day. The sibling bond is fostered through doing activities together. Parents' behavior toward both siblings can also impact sibling relationships.

Let Them Resolve Their Differences

When siblings tell on each other, parents may tend to take aside. But, when siblings are taught to resolve their arguments independently, this can prove beneficial to all. Help them understand that people have different temperaments and interests. It is wise to accept these differences while still loving the person. Teach children to negotiate, compromise, and look for win-win solutions. Guide them at first, then stand back.

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Avoid Comparing Siblings

"Why can't you be more like your sibling?" This statement can be detrimental to sibling relationships. Comparing siblings tends to build resentment and breeds sibling rivalry. Siblings are already competing for their parents' time, attention, and approval, among others.

Get Them to Team Up

One way for companies to get their staff to cooperate is by giving them activities to work together. In a similar vein, parents can have their kids work on a project together. Better yet, have the children team up to do big chores like cleaning out the garage or preparing dinner. Join in the fun and have the kids race against the grownups to see who gets their chores done faster, Very Well Family advised.

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Build a Positive Family Culture Together

Thomas Lickona, a developmental psychologist and author of the book "How to Raise Kind Kids" advised, "Creating a happier and more peaceful family is the responsibility of every family member, not just the parents."

Lickona recommended families craft a family mission statement. What kind of family does each member of the family hope to have? So when conflict arises, you can look to your mission statement as a reminder of the family you are creating. For families with younger kids, a picture or drawing can be a more helpful reminder.

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Teach Them to Listen with Respect

Teach children to listen with empathy. Listen to understand, not listen to react or look for loopholes. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions from how they see the world. Further, remind children to use a pleasant tone of voice even when disagreeing, be mindful of their sibling's space and belongings, and not put down their opinions. The golden rule still applies: treat others the way you want to be treated, hopefully with kindness and concern for others' feelings.

Remind Them the Importance of Sibling Relationships

Children may choose their friends over their brother or sister. But, it is worth teaching and repeating to your kids the value of siblings. As they get older, please encourage your children to continue doing things together and maintain a good relationship even as they live independent lives.

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