Important Things To Remember About How To Raise Siblings Without Rivalry. Relationships between siblings are intensely personal and potentially more dynamic than any others one may experience in life. While some may get along like childhood friends, others may never see eye-to-eye. Yet others may keep swinging between the two through their lives. It all comes down to their shared experience of childhood and the parenting styles that moulded it. Here are ten tips on raising siblings every parent should keep in mind.
No matter how big or small an achievement is, don’t compare your children’s performances to each other. If one has topped his or her class with a greater margin than the other, don’t let the other feel any less appreciated. Doing so places undue stress on the sibling friendship your children may otherwise develop. It may nurture feelings of inadequacy in one of them which eventually turns into jealousy or sibling rivalry. Remember, competitiveness among siblings is naturally very strong; your contribution to it can be hazardous for each of them.
Steer Clear of Labels
The toughest part of raising siblings is to keep from falling into the many traps of instinctive behaviour. Labelling is a part of the human ability to properly segregate and understand reality, and we often do it to people, too. This makes it tough to stop yourself from defining your kids by their most prominent characteristics (the “pretty one” and the “smart one”) However, labelling siblings this way can lead them to believe in these labels as preset roles they cannot step out of. Therefore, even if both would like to react to something in the same manner, they’ll struggle to make their reaction conform to the label they’ve been assigned. It becomes a huge obstacle to sibling friendship by making them hesitant to acknowledge their similarities.
While labelling lays emphasis on individual differences in siblings, it also promotes sibling rivalry. Remember to voice your appreciation of the similarities between them from time to time while raising siblings. Irrespective of whether they show it or not, your word always means the world to your children. Reinforce to them that your appreciation depends on the their qualities rather than their personalities. What’s wrong for one will remain wrong for another, just as what’s appreciated in one will be equally appreciated in the other. This will help them get over the natural sibling competitiveness and instead collaborate and help each other.
Jealousy between siblings is most often over how much of your love and attention each one gets. So, even when you’re doing your best to be fair to each one and avoid comparing them, it may not be enough to surmount their insecurities. Raising siblings to be friends is a challenge made easier by diversification. Spreading out the base of a heavy object helps balance it better; the same applies to sibling relationships. Gently encourage your children to pick different careers and hobbies. If they aren’t operating in the same spectrum, comparing scores gets much tougher for everyone including them. This effectively diffuses tension and makes room for sibling friendship.
All this said, there is no single rule to raising siblings to be friends. Nobody knows your kids like you do, so don’t hesitate to be innovative with these tips. Good luck and happy parenting!