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6 Effective Ways To Help Siblings Get Along

I grew up in a home as the third of five siblings and often felt I had to compete for my parents’ affection. For a long time, I felt that my siblings excelled at many things, such as soccer, baseball, the arts, academics, and even who could make the prettiest snowman on the first snowfall of the year, while I was just a kid who spent most of my time reading in her room.

This continued for many years until I had my two daughters, Sarah and Tina. Motherhood changed many aspects of my life, including how I wanted to raise my daughters. One thing was clear from the beginning: no matter how much effort I had to make, I would give my daughters the same attention and make them feel heard and validated. However, I would have to face a major problem: how to help siblings get along?

So, I am writing this article for you, Mom or Dad, who may be in a similar situation. It is possible to help siblings get along, and the techniques you will read below will be very helpful.

What Is the Main Cause of Sibling Rivalry?

The main reason for sibling rivalry is often the competition for parents’ attention, resources, and admiration. When a child feels that a sibling is gaining more attention or affection from their parents, jealousy often leads to conflicts. Fortunately, jealousy can be lessened if your kiddos feel appreciated. 

But there are also other reasons. Besides the direct competition caused by perception, sibling rivalry is supplemented by personality differences and stages of development. To put it simply, an extroverted child may overshadow a quiet one, or a toddler may be getting along with an older sibling regarding a need for independence. 

If you can understand these differences, you can react with an appropriate parenting approach and, most importantly, manage and curb escalated pains. In addition, changes within family dynamics, such as a new sibling being born or moving to a new home, can cause rivalry as children compete over stability and security.

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How Can You Help Siblings Get Along?

Build A Healthy Home Environment

Ensure a positive environment at home so that siblings maintain good relationships. Children watch and see what their parents are doing; hence, it is essential to show them how it’s possible to argue calmly and respectfully. 

Create an atmosphere of respect and kindness in your home. Show affection openly and model the behavior you would like your children to exhibit. Personally, it has worked for me to implement respectful parenting techniques with my daughters. I like them to feel at all times that home is a safe space, and I try to make my behavior reaffirm that belief, regardless of whether I am upset or sad.

I also set up rules that are agreeable to acceptable behavior and the maintenance of each other’s feelings while considering their space.

Make your home an environment where each child feels safe and appreciated. Encourage open communication and ensure they can come to you with their problems without fear of judgment. Create family rituals and activities that promote bonding, such as family game nights, shared meals, and group outings. These shared experiences foster a sense of friendship and help bonding among siblings.

Encourage Effective Communication

Good communication is the first step toward conflict resolution and building strong relationships. Help your kids learn to communicate their feelings and emotions using “I” statements, such as “I feel sad because you are using my toy without asking me first.” It will help them communicate without blame or attack on their sibling. 

You can also teach them how to listen actively, whereby each child is encouraged to understand what was said, and this is to ensure that they know each other well. He or She heard what they had to say from how effective communication was without feeling misunderstood.

 If you are unsure about how to implement any of these techniques, I recommend that you encourage role-playing. You can structure a scenario where your children can express their feelings and resolve conflicts in a controlled environment. You should emphasize teaching them to understand their siblings’ feelings and find a compromise that works for all parties. By teaching these skills early on, you give your children the foundation they need to be respectful, decent communicators, which will help them through their lives.

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Be Evenhanded

As a mom, I can relate to each child has unique needs and skill sets. When you decide on something that involves one of your kiddos, always tell them what you base that decision on. For example, “Joe gets to stay up later because he is allowed because he is older.” This will help reduce feelings of bias and encourage greater understanding of your actions. 

Fairness is essential in avoiding rivalry between your kids. Although it is important, remember that just treatment does not always mean identical treatment. 

Agree on a system for sharing resources and dividing responsibilities. For example, try creating a rotating schedule for tasks or privileges. Acknowledge and celebrate the achievements and efforts of each child: Pay similar and individual attention and compliments to both children. Treating your children fairly and respecting their requirements minimizes rivalry and bitterness, giving them security.

Foster Teamwork and Cooperation

Ensuring that your children work together and cooperate will create good relations among them. Engage them in team activities and emphasize the importance of working together. Appreciate the work they do when they cooperate. For example, if they build a fort to play in or win a game, celebrate their teamwork and highlight the benefits of working together through the activities.

 Assign joint responsibility to the children for some tasks that need to be done, such as taking out the trash or tidying up the shared play spaces. When there is a disagreement, solve it by guiding them. Let both of them know that cooperating with their siblings yields better results. Encouraging teamwork and celebrating their collaborative efforts helps your children form solid and supportive relationships.

Teach Them To Manage Conflict

Conflict is part of life; however, it is crucial to guide children to handle it constructively. Begin by helping them understand that conflicts are normal and can be solved without anyone losing out. Teach them conflict resolution skills, such as staying calm, expressing their feelings clearly, listening to each other, and finding mutually acceptable solutions. Role-playing different scenarios can be an effective way to practice these skills in a safe environment. 

Encourage your children to take responsibility for their actions and apologize for wronging their siblings. Teach them to forgive and move forward, emphasizing that holding onto grudges can harm their relationship. 

You can establish a family code of conduct for handling disagreements, including taking breaks when emotions run high and returning to the discussion when everyone is calmer. By doing so, you would be equipping them with tools and strategies for conflict management. They would be in a good position to handle disputes healthily and constructively.

Encourage Individuality and Personal Space

Sibling rivalry will be reduced, and a positive relationship between each child will be fostered if, alongside esteem building, you enable your children to celebrate their individuality. 

Encourage them to excel in the things in which they are interested, talented, or favorite activities—this will set a platform for every child to get their chance to shine. Children will be valued for who they are, thus diminishing the need to compete with other siblings for the parents’ attention or recognition. 

Another good idea, and something that I like to do with my daughters, is to encourage them to have some time apart and do what they know they enjoy. This will also help reduce tension between them. This balance of togetherness and separateness will create an environment where respect for each other’s differences develops healthily.

Need Some Advice? Try My Favorite Books To Help Siblings Get Along

If you’re a Mom or Dad who prefers to have resources, books are always a good way to look for information. The good thing is that you can choose from a wide variety, including books for children, or even buy some for yourself if you want an expert opinion.

When it comes to children’s books, my favorites are Brothers and Sisters: The Book For Siblings Who Don’t Get Along, by Dr. Janis Lacovara and I Do Not Like Living With Brothers, by Daniel Baxter.  I remember giving one of these books to my niece, and it really helped her get along with her younger sister. Plus, the illustrations are great, with bold and vibrant colors.

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On the other hand, if you are looking for something that addresses this problem more adultly, you can look at the book Resolving Sibling Rivalry by Wendy Ologe. It addresses the issue in a straightforward and easy-to-read manner and gives you effective tools for dealing with conflict between your kiddos peacefully and assertively.

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If the rivalry persists, consider seeking professional counseling. A child therapist can be a great help if the challenges overwhelm you. But don’t get discouraged. You are doing a great job, and your efforts are valuable. You got this!

Conclusion

Helping siblings get along will always be about creating an environment that thrives on patience, consistency, and love. A positive home environment, effective communication, fair treatment, teamwork, conflict management, and the encouragement of individuality will make raising kids who get on harmoniously a reality. 

Remember, it’s a process where you take one small step at a time to work toward creating a harmonious, lovely home. Take any progress, however small it is, and continue working on the relationship between your children. Through the right investment of time and energy, you can help them create a lifelong friendship with a reservoir of intense mutual respect.

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