Sibling rivalry is becoming more and more of an issue to families. I often hear people asking for ideas to build sibling relationships within their own children, so I thought I would write a list of things that we have done to help create a natural way for siblings relationships to blossom.
5 Ways to Build Sibling Relationships
- Refer to Your Children As Best Friends – We have always told our children that they are each others best friends and we worked hard to make their relationship this way, by creating lots of memories for them with in our home and on outings to build this important relationship.
- Set Sibling Time Daily – Our afternoon schedule includes a set time for sibling time. This is time that they play together for the purpose of building relationship with each other. I have found this to be a great way for them to learn how to prefer each other's likes over their own and to find common interests.
- Limit Strife in Your Home – Children are going to argue, there is nothing that you can really do to keep this natural part of a relationship for happening, especially when you share the same home. Creating a way to limit the strife is key to building a good sibling relationship for your children. We did this by getting to the root of a situation, not just the action, that was causing strife. Often times, parents correct a child that hit another child because hitting is wrong. However, the hitting was the reaction to a root issue and if you don't find that root problem, you can easily build resentment in one child, while empowering another in being mean with their words and actions to that child. This is the biggest issue in most sibling rivalry and often because parents don't want to take the time to get to the heart of the problem.
- Don't Allow Physical Fighting – We are a family that will wrestle, throw pillows and play rough, but we have never permitted our children to hit each other for the purpose of fighting. To allow it, even in a young age, will only create division and allow for bullying to happen with a family.
- Require Heart Felt Apologies – Children will apologize when you tell them to apologize to each other, but it doesn't mean they mean it and children know if an apology is meant. I have so many memories of having my child hug each other when strife was present and not letting go until I could see they had moved past their anger and had a heart of love for their other. Over time, the time it took for their hearts to soften toward each other lessened and lessened until it was never needed because they would quickly apologize when they realized they hurt the other.
Our children are not perfect in their sibling relationship, but they love each other and it is very evident, even to people who just meet us. They don't stay frustrated with each other for long and spend a lot of time together. That is saying a lot when you see a 20 year old spending time with a 5 year old because they enjoy each others company, or when a 19 year old takes his 12 year old brother golfing with him to just spend some brother time together.
The younger years are hard but so worth the reward when you put time into building sibling relationships.
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