The best advice comes from someone who has walked in your shoes before. Even as a “veteran” mom, I love hearing how other parents do things and handle certain situations with their kids. Parent to Parent is where we ask other parents how they handle a situation and share the answers with you. It takes a village, so leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.
Your children will be best friends, enemies, confidants, advisors, role models, and so much more to each other. The sibling relationship is one of the most complicated and deep relationships out there. I have four brothers and sisters, and I have a different relationship with each of them. As I watch my own children go from blissful, cooperative play one moment to frenzied battles the next, I often wonder what I could be doing to help them get along. In honor of Siblings Day on April 10th, we asked the question: “What do you do to encourage friendship between siblings?”
I don’t claim to have all the answers for this one! I think different things work for different families. With my own kids, I try not to facilitate play–I’ve found that when they’re left to their own devices their interactions are more authentic. When they fight, I give them two options: they can go to their rooms and play alone, or they can work it out themselves immediately and continue to play. They almost always choose to move on and play. I intervene as infrequently as possible to allow them to develop their relationship on their own terms.
Here’s what some of our writers had to say about how they nurture the growing friendships between their children:
“We love playing Heads Up and Tickle Monster – they band together against us and it helps them bond! ” — Shelby
“This is the hardest part about being a parent right now! We do like playing Uno…it’s the only game that seems to do well around here. We talk to them about choosing kind; sometimes you can’t win the argument or get your way or come to a compromise and so you choose kind and let it go. But we are definitely still works in progress when it comes being friends with each other!” — Jennifer V.
“We do things together as a family and model helpful behavior. Simple things, like going to the library and helping the other child find a book, goes a long way. We all help one another and foster that culture at home. At one point, my younger daughter could tie shoes better than her older brother, so she tied his shoes. We cross volunteer for scouting activities; we go to each others band concerts and sporting events. BUT each child has always had their own sport and activity separate from the other. This has made a huge difference, as they don’t have to compete.” Jennifer J.
“I send them to Tastee Freeze with $10.” — Genevieve
“When my kids are particularly pushing each others buttons, I make them go sit and hold hands until they are able to get along. But in general, I encourage them both to use words “sweet like honey” and serve each other. They really love being able to say, “I served you today!” — Jessica
As an adult, I truly treasure my siblings. You endure so many things together, like the anguish of adorning terrible coordinating Easter outfits. I hope to help my children develop the type of lifelong friendship with their siblings that I’m so fortunate to have.
What do you do to help your children develop the friendship between siblings? Tell us in the comments section.