Siblings can be cited as a strong blood relationship between sisters and brothers of a family. No one can compare sibling relationships with other relationships in society. Therefore, parents try to encourage the relationships between siblings from childhood itself.
So, how do you encourage sibling relationships? You can encourage sibling relationships by respecting the unique needs of each child, avoiding comparisons, setting ground rules, not involving in their fights, listening to them, and helping them in bonding activities. Some sibling bonding activities include super messy play, playing against parents, family traditions, birthday celebrations, and sharing their passions. However, parents have to understand that age, personality, gender, and family size affect sibling relationships.
If they are not encouraged to a positive extent, in the future, they will not maintain lovely relations with each other. So, it is clear that this is a very significant part of relationships. That’s why I hoped to come out with this article on encouraging sibling relationships.
Accordingly, I will discuss all the related information you should know about; why it is important to have a strong relationship with siblings, types of sibling relationships, ways to encourage sibling relationships, and finally, I will provide you with some simple activities to improve sibling relationships.
Let’s get started!
Why is it important to have a strong relationship with siblings?
About 80% of children are living with a sibling. They are lifelong relationships and important for many reasons as;
1. A close partner to share everything
It can be seen that children tell everything to their siblings that they do not tell even their parents. It includes topics like; relationships at school, friendships, etc.
It also includes worrying things like; drug use, abuse, pregnancy, and even self-harming thoughts like suicidal thoughts.
2. A confident relation
Almost all teenagers and children trust their siblings; they also work as a supporting source to each other at many times. This is very important as it reduces the suffering of children due to isolation.
Revealing a child’s thoughts to a sibling can prevent depressed mood, anxiety, or worsening mood and is highly therapeutic. They also work out as a sounding board for each other before doing things in society.
3. Become a source of support
Healthy sibling relationships are promoting academic achievement, pro-social behaviors, and empathy. While healthy relationships become a source of support, unhealthy and toxic relationships among siblings will be destabilizing and devastating.
Some siblings tell the other the things parents will never say to their children (sibling bullying), and they can be abusive emotionally.
So, except for some cons like sibling bullying, sibling relationships are positively life-changing relationships. They become more healthy and long-run relationships with a little bit of maintenance.
4. Emotional Development
When one sibling suffers from a medical or emotional problem, you may ensure that the others will get enough attention even though only one has difficulty.
It can be commonly seen that they are developing their emotional difficulties when another sibling struggles.
Types of the sibling relationship
There are many types of families at present. Instead of mother-father family, children are grown up by grandparents, other relatives, single parents, foster parents, or even same-sex parents. So, sisters and brothers are coming in many forms like;
- Traditional siblings
They are sisters and brothers who grow under the same father and mother.
- Half siblings
This type is sharing either the same father or the same mother.
They are sisters and brothers who are biologically not related but here, the parents are married to each other.
Anyway, there is no matter about the type of sibling; it is very important for children.
Factors affect sibling relationships
There are some factors that affect sibling relationships, such as;
Parents often think about how children become different at the house under the same parents. Even if they are alike in some ways, for parents, it is significant to know the unique personality of every child.
Different-aged children behave in different ways. As an example, young children are fighting more physically. Their fighting will be more like arguments as they grow.
This also affects the relations between siblings. It can be mostly seen that children of the same sex are often fighting than children of the opposite sex.
- Family size, spacing, and birth order
All children of a family are not the same. The experiences differ between the children of a large family and when there is only one child.
There can be seen fights between children less than 2 years than fights between children spaced further apart.
Ways to encourage sibling relationship
Sometimes we can see that siblings fight, tattle or tease one another. So, I will come out with effective ways to encourage sibling relationships.
So, how do you encourage sibling relationships? Follow these simple but practical methods.
1. Respecting the unique needs of each child
When you treat children uniformly, it will not be practical. You may focus on meeting the unique needs of each child.
For example, give your children different gifts according to their interests instead of giving them the same gifts to avoid conflicts.
2. Avoiding comparisons
Children get hurt and feel insecure when you compare their abilities. At the same time, you have to prohibit them from discussing the differences of the children.
Praise one of your children or describe their action or the accomplishment instead of comparing children to how their sibling does something.
There, parents can celebrate differences between siblings and avoid comparing them. It will help to promote self-esteem and prevent wedges from being formed between siblings.
3. Setting the ground rules
When interacting with each other, you may make sure that your children understand what you consider unacceptable and acceptable behavior and the consequences of misbehavior.
As an example, prevent your children from correcting and criticizing each other.
4. Do not involve in battles
You have to encourage your children to settle their differences. And refrain from taking sides and help to resolve disputes in younger children. You have to avoid doing it in front of others when disciplining your children as it may cause embarrassment and shame.
Take your kid aside to discuss their behavior when it is possible. At the same time, you should refrain from using nicknames for your child that can perpetuate siblings’ rivalry and do not get one-sided by repeatedly blaming one child for their disputes.
5. Anticipate problems
Help your children find a solution if they engage continuously in disagreement and are unable to find a solution.
For example, suppose your young children are engaging in trouble. In that case, you may encourage them in activities that do not want much cooperation or encourage them to play with their toys like; playing hide and seek, listening to music, etc.
You can create a weekly schedule if they struggle with gadgets and tell them about the consequences of not following the schedule.
6. Listening to your children
You have to allow your child to vent the negative feelings of each other as it can be frustrating to be a sibling. You have to react by understanding the emotions.
If there are siblings for you, you can share your experiences with childhood conflicts. It will be useful to keep your sense of humor.
The children also get a chance to work out and talk about sibling issues if you hold regular family meetings. Family dinners are the best opportunity for this.
7. Encouraging good behaviors and enable in team works
If you see that your children work together and play well as a team with siblings, complement them.
And you may encourage them for teamwork where they can support each other. Both siblings can have rewards for being together, but no one receives them if they do not cooperate. It will internally convey the need for cooperation.
8. Show your love
Engage in activities that each child interests in and spend more time with each of them alone. And convey to them that you are there with them always to talk and share anything.
Activities to improve sibling relationship
As parents, you can introduce various activities to improve sibling relationships.
This is the best answer to the question; how do you encourage sibling relationships? Let’s have a look.
1. Competing against mother and father
When siblings team up and compete against mom and dad, they unite. Physical games like hiding and seek, flags, tag, or water fights are ideal for this.
Kids versus dad and mom give a lot of fun for both sides. The water fight is the best game that conveys your children; they work together as it is a chance to soak their parents.
2. Super messy play
The enjoyment level difference over messy things is one of the major differences between the children and the adults of a family.
Children perish without being able to get crazy over messy things. It doesn’t matter what the mutual interest is; you have to find whatever the interest is and jump over it.
3. Making birthdays a big deal
Celebrate the birthday big over the special birthday girl or boy. Allow them to choose the dinner, activities, games, special snacks and everything and spend being like a family the whole day.
As everyone gets involved and no one feels jealous, and as they all have a birthday, they all know that they will become special for a day.
4. Create family traditions
Having an annual sibling sleepover party is a charming tradition for a family. All siblings get together, sleep together by sharing tons of stories, enjoying the time by snacking, etc.
For instance, having movie nights, weekly pizza, etc., are special events for a family to make their siblings closely bond to each other. Or you can organize annual yard sales that all pitch in and do something fun together.
These types of activities are creating fun memories with shared history where long-lasting bonds are formed.
5. Family time
Siblings strongly bond with each other when spending time together as a family. It can include; spending lots of time as a complete family by going out and having experiences.
Also, this may include; road trip to visit grandparents or a weekend camping adventure that gives fun and great memories to share.
When children are away from regular routines and regularly meeting friends, they have time to spend with the family, especially with siblings, by creating strong bonds.
6. Helping children in bonding activities
Here, you can give them a chance to play games and projects where siblings’ strength is needed to complete.
Examples include creating a fort outside, making an obstacle course and baking cookies, etc.
And if you can allow them to take pictures of each other and tack them on bulletin boards after getting printouts.
7. Allowing for time away from each other
Sometimes when siblings are always together that too much togetherness creates fights. When they are with friends or alone without always being together, they will create strong bonds after they are reconnected.
When they spend time alone, it will give them a chance to experiment and explore without comparing them with their siblings.
8. Finding a passion they share
There is no need to be high-minded. Maybe they prefer watching the latest episodes of their favorite TV shows or world cup games.
Perhaps both have a passion for cars or dinosaurs, then support that mutual passion.
Conclusion – How do you encourage sibling relationships?
We have discussed; how do you encourage sibling relationships with more details. I have come out with reasons to consider sibling relations more important, types of sibling relationships, ways to encourage sibling relationships, and finally, the activities to improve sibling relations.
About 80% of children are living even with one sibling. There are various types of sibling relations like; traditional siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings. So, how do you encourage sibling relationships? You can do many things like; avoiding comparisons, not involving their battles, and improving their relations by sparing family time, helping them in bonding activities, etc. Then, as parents, you can create a long-lasting relationship with siblings.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned with BestFamilyLife for more good content.