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If you have more than one child, you may have children who will hopefully be friends forever. Relationships between siblings can be truly special and supportive. They may also be difficult at times. It can be helpful to encourage healthy relationships among siblings. It is important to know when to back off and let them figure things out on their own. Some tips to help:
First, make sure that all family members know the rules about communication and the way each member is to be treated. The way children learn to treat others and their parents in the home will most likely greatly influence how they treat others outside of the home.
--Teach your children how to disagree: It would be so nice and easy if our children would always politely use their words and communicate with each other but reality is that kids argue. However, we can teach them how to disagree fairly. It is important for them to learn how to share their feelings, listen to the other person, and find a compromise or some practical solution. Sometimes this may mean taking a break to calm down before trying to discuss the situation. It may mean having to give into someone else’s way, being aware that the next time he will get a turn. It may be important to set limits, for example, “please do not use my scooter without asking me first.” Supervise communication indirectly, and teach your children basic communication skills that will assist them.
--When they have learned the skills, get involved only when they seem like they are having a really difficult time: Once your children know the skills to work out their issues, let them use them. It is your role to intervene only when and if the communication escalates to yelling or it becomes physical. Give them one chance to work it out in a calm manner. If they cannot work it out it is then a good time for a timeout and separation from each other. Then you want to encourage them to come together and work it out in a polite manner.
--Applaud them when they are getting along: Let your children know on a regular basis that you appreciate it when they get along and play nicely together.