Skills to help with sibling rivalry
The relationships we had with our siblings growing up can have a big impact (good and bad) on our adult lives. Think about yourself and your siblings. Do you still harbor bad feelings? If so, the good news is, you can help your kids have a different experience. There are ways to respond to your children that can help them develop more positive feelings about their sibling and help them learn how to navigate relationships.
Here are some ideas from one of my favorite book: Siblings Without Rivalry
Give kids permission to express their feelings
- For example, your child is jealous of the baby and says, "You are always with the baby."
- Instead of dismissing feelings, "No, I'm not. Didn't I just read to you?"
- Put feelings into words, "You don't like my spending time with her."
- For example, one child is always late.
- Instead of saying, "How come your brother manages to get home in time?"
- Describe the situation, "Your piano teacher has been waiting for ten minutes."
Show kids they are loved uniquely, not equally
- For example, your child complains that her sister has a bigger pancake.
- Instead of saying,"No it's not, I made them exactly the same!"
- Focus on child's individual needs, "Oh are you still hungry? Would you like another pancake?"
When kids fight
- For example, Both kids want the same truck. (Haha, this never happens, right?!)
- Instead of, "Why can't you both share? You will have more fun." Child says, "I don't want to share!!" So you say, "I'm taking this truck away and you can both go to your rooms!"
- Respond helpfully by acknowledging the children's anger and listening to both children. Say, "I have confidence that if you two put your heads together, you will come up with a solution that is fair for both of you."
- This is just one idea. The book has several solutions.
- With little kids teach them ways to work things out.
Siblings Without Rivalry has lots of easy to follow skills to help your kids get along. The authors give more in-depth ideas for everyday problems. (Click on book title to buy the book at a discount from Amazon.)