Sunday, June 8, 2008

Creating a bond between siblings

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. 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.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Rixblix said...

There are very few things that are not communal property in our house. When our boys were little, it was more of an issue. Each had their special things that were not shared. But essentially, our family's home and what is in it is ours. We are all responsible for taking care of it.

Not getting along has just never been an issue. It's just not tolerated. When they were little and disagreed, I'd put them on opposite ends of the sofa and told them they couldn't get down till they worked it out. After about a minute, they'd both be laughing at each other and it was over.

Now that they are older (10 and 12) we do stupid stuff like make one vacuum the other's bedroom or take the other's laundry upstairs.

I won't tolerate anything less. They don't have to be best friends, but ultimately they'll be able to share stories about how nutty I was.

Jennifer said...

We do play a lot of games as a family and encourage good manners, but it is odd how my kids will be meaner to each other than they ever would be to a friend (or even a stranger!)... they are way more apt not to give each other the benefit of the doubt or to assume the worse about each other. I'm hoping it's just because of their ages! said...

I would think a lot of siblings go through that Jennifer. It sounds like you are on the right track with how to get it to stop!

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