Creating positive experiences for their children is something a lot of parents’ desire and strive for but it can be difficult when it feels like children are fighting with one another.
What parents sometimes do not recognize is their power as parents. A healthy parental attitude can not only minimize sibling rivalry, but it can also encourage positive experiences for siblings. I want to discuss parenting tips to help reduce sibling rivalry and how you can create positive experiences for your children in your everyday life.
1. Expect many episodes of sibling conflict
Conflict is normal and is bound to happen. Do not set unrealistic goals for family harmony and do not blame yourself when conflicts occur. If you work to have this mindset as the parent you will be able to react calmer when conflicts do arise.
2. Do not take sides
When your children are in an argument listen to both children, but do not take sides. Support your children in resolving their disputes by reflecting each child’s thoughts and feelings out loud. It is important for your children to not feel like you are siding with their sibling over them.
3. Avoid expressing sibling comparisons
When brothers or sisters perceive sibling comparisons being made by parents their brothers and sisters automatically become the enemy rather than their teammate. Try reframing your thoughts and words to appreciating the differences and valuing the uniqueness in each family member.
Encourage children to develop a sense of empathy and a respect for how their siblings feel. Empathy is often described as walking in someone else’s shoes. Help your child understand others in this way by asking your child what do you think they think or feel right now.
5. Teach problem solving
Focus on teaching your children healthy ways to work out conflicts. Let your children know that you believe that they can be creative about finding solutions to problems with their brothers and sisters. Let you children lead and try being the observer.
6. Do not force children to be friends with their siblings
This may come in time when they are ready and through their own desires. It will mean more to them when they make this choice for themselves. However, in the meantime, you can insist that they treat each other respectfully.
I hope that these six tips will help minimize sibling rivalry and create positive experiences for your children to bond and grow in their relationship with one another.