Siblings can play wonderful roles throughout each other’s lives though there can be challenges along the way. Here are some of our tips to help nurture those important relationships.
10 Ways to Parent Siblings
- Prepare early: talk to older children and prepare them early on about the importance and role of an older sibling as a source of guidance and care. Do be careful that you do not give an older child too much responsibility for a younger one.
- Let children express how they feel: if a child is experiencing negative emotions about their brother or sister, allow the child to talk about it. Often a child just needs to be listened to.
- Don’t play favourite: never show a special preference for one of your children.
- Never compare your children: they are their own individual persons, so celebrate their differences and let them know they are special for who they are.
- Respect personal space: make sure each child has enough time and space of their own. Children need opportunities to do their own thing, and to play with their own friends without their sibling.
- Positive Communication: teach your children how to positively get attention from each other rather than picking a fight.
- Foster co-operation rather than competition: set tasks up that require co-operation among your children, such as having them race the clock to pick up toys instead of racing each other.
- Develop ground rules together: have family discussions about what rules to establish and receive feedback from your children. Listening to what they need from you and each other may reduce future conflicts.
- Do not shout or lecture: it does not help the situation if you get frustrated too. Your children will learn and imitate the way you handle resolving problems.
- Hold children equally responsible: keep in mind that when rules are broken or conflicts arise, it does not matter who started it because it always takes more than one person to cause an argument or fight.
This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.
Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Run Family Meetings.
One Family offers a suite of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.
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