Do you know when to step in to settle a squabble with your kids and when to let them work it out? Check out these seven ways to help your children build lasting, harmonious relationships.
Allow siblings to express their feelings about each other. Give your child time and space to vent frustration. When he or she talks to you about another sibling, listen. Acknowledge that you understand your child’s viewpoint, and that it’s normal to feel that way. Tell your child this is something he or she can work out.
Give each child alone time. Make it a point to spend time with each child individually. Use this opportunity to focus on your child to reinforce his or her independence and uniqueness. When your children know you recognize them as individuals, not just one of a group, they may be more willing to spend time with their siblings.
Know when to step in. When the inevitable small arguments occur, it’s good to let your kids learn to work things out on their own. They are practicing negotiating skills for later in life. If the argument becomes a fight, then intervene. The more they are allowed to fight as children, the more likely they are to fight as adults.
Make cooperation opportunities. Once a month, plan a family event in which teams are formed. Pair your kids together so they learn to cooperate to succeed. This way, they listen to each other’s ideas to find the best possible solution. The feeling of mutual accomplishment will bring them closer.
Hold family meetings. Routinely get your whole family together to address any issues that have come up. You even can hold these meetings during family dinners. Encourage your children to bring up anything they would like to discuss.
Don’t make comparisons. It’s difficult not to compare your children. But to promote harmony, address the issue of the moment only — the messy room, the backtalk or the forgotten chores. Keep each child’s strengths in mind and look for opportunities to point them out. Take time to praise a job well done!
Promote the meaning of family. Periodically reiterate to your children the importance of family. Show them the closeness of family by remaining close to your own siblings. Remind them that friends may come and go, but family is forever.