Building Strong Sibling Relationships

Parents can build strong sibling relationships among their children, starting at a very young age, that will make a happy, healthy family. The relationship between a child and his brother or sister is a special bond that can be a lifelong gift. 

In order for a child to have a secure, happy relationship with a brother or sister, he must first feel secure in his relationship with his parents. Much sibling rivalry is due to insecurities, jealousy and competition for the parent's attention.

To help build good, close relationships among their children, parents should demonstrate that they think of their children as individuals and give them the attention they need.

What Parents Can Do to Build Strong Sibling Relationships

  • Communicate early and often. Good communication and meaningful conversations in a family can head off problems between siblings and help to form strong bonds between them. Talk at the dinner table, talk in the car, and talk before bed. Honest and direct talk is always good for a family.
  • Treat your children as individuals. Know each of your children's temperaments and traits and work with them to interact with the similarities and differences in their siblings.
  • Encourage quality time together. Don't let your kids get so busy with extra-curricular activities, sports, lessons and clubs that they don't have any time left for quality family time at home with their siblings.
  • Treat them as equals. It will be easier for your children to be friends if their age differences are not a big issue. As convenient as it may be for you, try not to assign supervisory roles to older children, let older children baby-sit younger siblings or put them in situations where one child is in authority over the others.
  • Reward your children for good behavior with siblings. Praise your children for working together, playing together and treating each other with respect. Point out the benefits of them collaborating with one another to get something done.
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