A couple weeks ago we talked about establishing a bond between siblings. Dr. Eric Ward mentioned that it's a good idea to start fostering that relationship when the kids are young.
NewsAnchorMom.com reader Jennifer asked:
"Exactly how do you do that, is what I am wondering? When my kids were toddlers and early grade school age they got along really well. They played together daily and hardly fought at all. Now, as middle schoolers they often argue and I'm not sure if it's just indicative of their age or the state of their relationship and I'm not really sure, what, if anything, as a parent I can do."
Dr. Ward said he would recommended encouraging your kids to talk to their siblings like they do their friends. He said at a young age, take ten minutes a day to play a board game or play catch with them. For young kids, say "That is very good how you told your brother thank you or that is a really nice way to talk to your sister." If the kids don't react appropriately, tell them a better way to say that is xxxx" Older kids might have an idea what how to say something politely, but don't feel comfortable doing it. Making sure siblings spend quality time with each other is a good way to create that bond. (these days we have to set aside time for everything, don't we?) Dr. Ward also said to make sure no one else comes into the room and interupts this special time.
Dr. Ward said to talk to the older child and let him/her know they are the one who needs to set a good example on how to be friends. "Treat your family members how you would treat someone at work. This scenario might be why kids who are home schooled often have closer relationships with their siblings. The home schooling parent has to teach social skills," he said.