4 Tips for Strengthening Relationships Between Siblings10:08 AM
The other day I had a reader send me an email about two of her children who just can't get along and she asked for some advice. Now, I am certainly not a parenting expert and will never ever claim to be. Kids don't come with instruction manuals and we all just struggle through as best we can hoping to not mess them up too badly along the way. However, I do have four boys and when they get along better with each other, I am a much happier mama. These are some of the tips I use to help strengthen the relationship between my boys and help them get along better.
Separate Them When Possible
Okay. so you wouldn't expect the first piece of advice on a post about helping strengthen the relationship between two siblings to be to separate them, but it is. On any given day, the dynamic in my house can change. Two boys that got along well the day before may be at each others throats by the next morning. When I see this happen the first thing I do is separate them, and get them interested in doing something with another sibling or by themselves. Forcing two siblings who are not getting along to be with each other all day is only going to lead to disaster.
Find Something They Love to do Together
When they are having a period where they seem to get along, have them do an activity together that they both enjoy. The key here is to make sure there is no competitive aspect to the activity at all. If there is even a hint of competitiveness, it will only lead to more fighting as they try to compete against each other and win.
Have Them Compliment Each Other
This can work one of two ways. When they are not fighting or arguing, you can have them create a card or letter for their sibling listing things they like about them. If they have been fighting or are saying mean things about each other, you can also have them stand there until they can say two nice things about the other person for every mean thing they said about them. Compliments make everyone feel better and create a positive bond between the two siblings. Hearing positive things come out of their sibling's mouth instead of negative ones can help create a stronger bond.
Create a Reward System
If all else fails, you can try to create a reward system. Create a list of family rules and a system for rewarding good behavior. Let the children know that each time you "catch" them being nice to one another, you will reward them accordingly. Be sure to point out that they cannot tell you when they are doing these things, instead you will reward them at different times when you notice the behavior.
Do you have any tips to help siblings get along? Share your ideas in the comments below.