Sibling rivalry is a commonly known phenomenon in families. Arguments between siblings are normal and natural. It is one way to learn how to resolve issues of the family or with other people, yet when these arguments go overboard that affects the dynamics of the family and can lead to hatred. We have read a lot of articles and case studies about this issue and came up with 10 tips to improve sibling relationships in the article below:
#10 Tips to Improve Sibling Relationships
1. Follow a schedule:
More often than not sibling rivalry could arise from lack of attention by parents. Children always need attention and play time with their parents (in this order) since they are young because it is important for them emotionally; thus this will ensure that each child has her chance in receiving love and affection. It also ensures that parents play an active role in their development as individuals, teaches them sharing skills, values, companionship and it also gives parents their alone time thus making them feel loved and appreciated by their children.
Children need to be disciplined in order for them to get used to the rules of the house. Siblings should respect each other by following the guidelines given by parents who are responsible in disciplining them. It is important that discipline starts at home because this will make it easier for children when they grow up and start living independently or with another family member.
Play reduces stress, helps kids mature emotionally and psychologically, teaches sharing skills as well as letting off steam after a tense day at school or work (for parents). If you can afford getting more than one pet then let your child play with her sibling, or you can also give them another playmate in the form of a pet.
4. Quality time:
Quality time is when one gets to spend quality time with your sibling by doing activities that are fun, yet productive thus this will help strengthen the bond between family members. For instance, an hour of quality time would mean spending one hour together feeding pets playing computer games reading a book and talking about school and other issues pertaining to life. This kind of quality improves relationships because it gives siblings an opportunity to know each other more personally as well as knowing what each sibling likes and dislikes, thus no rivalry occurs because they have become close friends over the years.
5. Knowledgeable Role Model:
Parents must be role models for their children, to teach them right from wrong and the basics of society. By doing so siblings will be well aware of how they are supposed to treat one another thus no hatred occurs between siblings.
6. Assign choirs:
Assign chores to your children that help in keeping the house clean. Chores like washing dishes, vacuuming and dusting, taking care of pets such as feeding or cleaning their cages and toys. Assigning these duties to your kids will make them feel helpful to you and also teach them values such as appreciation for what they have thus no quarrels occur because they are grateful for the things they have received from you. This also builds a sense of responsibility in them hence avoiding sibling rivalry. The choirs need to be equal in difficulty and amount of time.
It is important to be fair all the time when arranging activities, especially games to avoid sibling rivalry. That means not giving attention always to one child while ignoring the other or not letting one win a competition while making the other lose. This way both siblings will feel that you love them and care for them equally thus no hatred occurs between them.
Bedtime is an important ritual that helps a child have a peaceful sleep thus avoiding sibling rivalry. It is also necessary to have set bed times for your children (making it the same time every night). Children should be assigned their own rooms and beds at least when they are babies because this will make them sleep alone comfortably without feeling scared or insecure. This way no hatred occurs between them while sleeping.
9. Avoid comparisons:
Avoid comparing siblings with each other especially in their abilities as well as appearance, thus no hatred occurs between them because one may feel less special than her sister or brother resulting to sibling rivalry. Instead give praise equally to both of them for doing something good so that they can be proud of themselves and feel confident knowing they have done something right.
10. Open communication:
Make sure you listen to your kids whenever there is a misunderstanding between them, avoid ignoring the situation until it gets worse resulting to sibling rivalry. Also make sure you talk to one child without the presence of her or his sibling because this will give enough time for both siblings to tell their side of the story without interruption, hence coming up with a good solution that reduces hatred between siblings. Also be an active listener as well, listen carefully when children are talking about something that happened during school or from home so that you can understand what caused them hostility towards each other.
So as a parent...
...even though you may be busy, try best to be around with your kids more so that they can share their problems and concerns with you, help them solve issues and engage in activities with them that involve both siblings . Avoid favoritism towards one child while ignoring the other thus making him/her feel less special. Also avoid comparing children as well as assigning chores to one child as opposed to her/his sister or brother because this will make her/him feel inferior thus sibling rivalry occurs. So always keep an eye on all your kids when having a family night because it is important for the bonding process between siblings.
Try to spend quality time with our children ,because by not spending time with them, we are ignoring the most important stage of their lives that is the teen years. These years are very crucial for creating a loving relationship between children and parents since they are starting to take decisions on their own and also having thoughts about certain issues.
Teens may also rebel out at this age, by being rude towards you, staying out late at night coming back home hours after midnight which is not safe especially if they don't tell where they have been, lying to make sure their plans go well without being monitored by you, bad grades in school or negative attitude towards everything around them including siblings .
This causes a gap between parents and their children, causing the parents to feel confused in how to deal with situations thus leading to hatred which could be avoided if they were close enough .
The parents may also ignore what their kids have done thus not showing care towards them, this leads the child feeling neglected, abandoned or angry at his/her parents for not being sensitive to him/her as well as siblings that he/she is living with.
So at this point, the most important thing you can do as a parent ist to not ignore the family as it is one of the most important things you have on earth. To be in a close relationship with your children and to minimize sibling rivalry, make sure you spend quality time with them .
You are the one who can help to strengthen the bond in your family, so that there is not hatred between siblings. Here’s how you do it: Follow a schedule and discipline them by making sure they get quality time with their parents or other knowledgeable role models like grandparents, aunts and uncles. Assign choir participation as well as fair punishments for good behavior and bad behaviors alike-avoid comparisons while communicating calmly when needed. You love your family, right? So respect them; be a good role model so they can grow up and be a great parent themselves to their children.