If you have two children, you’ve been doubly blessed. But whether they are twins, triplets or singles, they’re bound to have times when they can’t get along at all. And when siblings aren’t getting along, the whole household tends to know it. The screaming, tattling and fighting can reach epic proportions.
What can you do to instill a sense of brotherly or sisterly love between your kids? Turns out, there’s a lot you can do to foster a close relationship between them.
Make Sure They Know the Rules
Everyone needs guidelines, and children are no exception to that rule. Let them know from a young age what kind of behavior is unacceptable to you.
If hitting isn’t allowed in your house, and one sibling hits the other, you need to do something about it. When they break your rules, make sure they’re held accountable for their actions.
Give Them Opportunities to Work as a Team
Whether you have them tag team a chore or you let them have a sleepover in each other’s room, giving them a chance to work as a team or bond with each other is important. And when you see them getting along and having fun together, stay out of the way.
Those moments may not come along every day, so you don’t want to ruin them when they happen.
Don’t Compare One to the Other
The quickest way to make one kid resent the other is by making constant comparisons between the two of them. When you compare children, one is always going to come up short. And they’ll both notice. One will feel inferior and the other will feel superior. That can cause hard feelings that can last a lifetime.
Appreciate both your children for their own unique talents, and never point out what their sibling does better than them, even if you’re trying to help. Think about how you would feel if your children pointed out constantly what your spouse does better than you.
Listen to Them Vent
Acknowledging your child’s frustrations without taking sides in their argument can help your child immensely. Sometimes people, even children, just need to feel like they’re being heard.
A simple comment from you can go a long way toward making your child feel better. Remember to make sure it’s neutral and something they can understand. Stick with something along the lines of, “I know it feels bad when you and your brother can’t get along. You both love each other so much though. I’m glad I have children who care so much about each other.”
Let Them Know How Proud You Are When They Get Along
If you see your children getting along really well, make sure they know how pleased you are. You can tell them how nice it is to hear them playing so well together. Children love to make their parents happy, and they’ll be thrilled to hear you acknowledge their good behavior.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.