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    Teaching Good Siblinghood

    The bond between siblings is one of the most common yet least understood types of relationships. For some, a sister or brother can be a lifelong source of comfort, reassurance, and love. But for many others it can be a constant stream of resentment, anger, and rivalry. Differences in temperaments, personalities, interests, and ages can fuel unrest between siblings, but teaching them how to work through their problems is an excellent way to prepare them for life’s more difficult moments.


    Treat Them as Individuals

    One of the simplest ways to prevent rivalry between children is to treat them as individuals. Parents often do their children a disservice by not nurturing their own unique skills and abilities. If Jack throws a mean curveball but John can barely swing a bat, don’t encourage them both to try out for the Little League team. Instead, praise them for their own special talents. This will boost their self-esteem and help them understand that being different isn’t such a bad thing.

    Discourage Tattling

    Disagreements between siblings are bound to arise and the way you handle them can deeply affect a sibling relationship. Take tattling, for instance. Most sibling rivalries are bound to manifest in tattling because, ultimately, they’re both seeking your approval, and sometimes the easiest way to get that approval is to throw a brother or sister under the proverbial bus. When faced with a tattling child, it’s often best to ignore them. This will make it clear that not only is tattling not the way to gain your good graces, but it’s also not an effective way for Sibling A to punish Sibling B.

    Building Conflict-Resolution Skills

    Ttattling goes through an important change when a child tells you not what their sibling did but how that action made them feel. Be respectful of your child’s feelings by listening and showing them their emotions are valid. Then, encourage your child to tell their sibling about their feelings. If a child can respectfully confront their sibling about something they did, it’s a big step in the development of their conflict-resolution skills.

    Lifelong Lessons

    Sibling relationships are the first time children experience how to work out a conflict independently of you. So don’t just encourage good behavior between siblings; encourage siblings to resolve their conflicts together. The sooner they can do this, the better prepared they’ll be to navigate challenges in school, work, and beyond.

    Topics: All, Parenting

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