One of my primary goals as a parent is raising kids who get along with one another. My kids may all love crafts and creating, but they each have their own, distinct personality. Distinct personalities mean we get personality clashes! Seeing kids fight is heartbreaking for any parent. Thankfully, I have some parenting secrets that make all the difference in raising siblings who get along.
Raising Siblings Who Get Along: Successful Parenting Secrets
These time tested successful parenting tips for raising siblings who get along come from my own experience parenting. My parenting is inspired by my childhood as the fourth of ten siblings who all get along. It is also influenced by parenting books I have read. I reference some of my favorites books about raising siblings at the end of this post.
Schedule family down time.
Spend time together as a family. It doesn’t matter what you do; it’s the time together that is important. I do recommend activities that allow space for talking and laughing. Activities where you are all engaged in the same activity but don’t have many opportunities to interact are much less effective. Going on walks, drawing, crafting, playing modified versions of chess and monopoly, and enjoying music together are favorites from our home.
Teach and model respect.
My children understand that they need to respect each others’ emotions. This is true even when those emotions don’t make sense to them (say, a sibling appears to be overreacting to a situation). Model this same respect when dealing with your children and their emotions.
Moderate disagreements only where absolutely necessary.
I’ve learned that my kids usually find with solutions that are at least as fair as the ones I would come up with. This problem-solving process teaches them lessons in compromise and team work along the way. If we want our kids to get along, we need to give them a chance to figure out solutions on their own.
Focus on problem solving.
If you have to moderate a disagreement, focus on core facts and solving the problem. Don’t get distracted by who said or did what first. Be aware of the fact that some children are better than others at expressing opinions and describing situation. Focus on resolving the issue. Is conflict the only problem, or are they also tired or hungry? Have you as their parent given them the attention they need?
See children as individuals.
Don’t define children by birth order or perceived talents. Give them space to be themselves, and they’ll surprise you over and over again. Try not to categorize children or put them into boxes. This limits growth and prevents parents from getting to know their children, while fostering resentment.
Don’t let children prioritize objects over siblings.
My kids know that if they fight over something – be it a toy, movie, or computer game – they will lose the privilege of using that particular object. No object is more important than a human being.
Recognize nice things they do for one another.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way! Notice the small kindnesses your children do for one another.
Books to Read: Parenting Resources for Raising Siblings Who Get Along
Looking to learn more? Siblings Without Rivalry is my favorite book on this topic.
I also Laura Markham’s Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings.
What are your best tips for raising siblings who get along?