Family Relationships: Getting Along With Siblings

January 16, 2020

Your siblings are people that are very close to you, sharing in memories with you and acting as a support system.

However, as a parent to multiple children, you’re no stranger to disagreements among your kids. Arguing, fighting, yelling, and teasing are all common sights in a household where siblings are present.

To minimize the perpetual war between your children, you have to teach them 3 skills:

  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Negotiation

We’ll explore each one below.

Communicating Properly

Good communication will bring a lot of peace, quiet, and order to your household.

Implement a few rules for good communication:

  • When someone is talking, everyone else is listening — No talking over each other
  • “Inside voices” — No shouting
  • Always ask — for permission to go places, invite a friend over, borrow something, etc.
  • Family meetings — Issues that affect everyone can be discussed
  • Direct communication — If someone is upset, have them talk to the person who upset them
  • Chore chart — No arguing about who does which chores

Lastly, encourage your child to talk to you if they feel like you are giving more attention to your siblings. Teach them to be calm when expressing their feelings and to bring it up when you have a few minutes to listen.

Communication skills will benefit your children for the rest of their lives, so it’s good to have them practice now.

Showing Respect

Respect is another skill that will benefit your children as they grow. When your children learn to respect each other, they will get along much better.

Teach your children to do the following:

  • Manners
  • Encourage, don’t put down
  • No bullying
  • Do not use rude or bad language
  • Respect each other’s space
  • Ask for permission before borrowing someone’s belongings
  • No telling secrets about a sibling — Unless it’s to keep them safe
  • Do not invite yourself along

What it boils down to is “treating others how you want to be treated”.

Negotiation

Negotiation will be harder to teach your children than communication or respect because it involves trust.

That being said, negotiation skills build on those preceding skills. If you teach your children how to communicate with each other and respect each other, then teaching them negotiation will be easier.

Here are some things to teach your children:

  • Fairness — Tell your older children that deceiving their younger, more naive siblings is not ok
  • Communicate — Communication is important in coming to an agreement
  • Age doesn’t matter — Older siblings don’t have “more rights” than younger siblings
  • Compromise — The solution must work for everyone; if someone isn’t happy, then it’s not a good one

Other Ways to Help Your Children Get Along With Each Other

Aside from those 3 main skills, there are a few other ways to teach your children how to get along with their siblings:

  • When something is agreed upon, each sibling must do what they said they would do on time
  • If siblings struggle to compromise, then adults can be brought into the situation
  • Unresolved issues should be brought up at a family meeting

By teaching your children these skills and ideas, you’ll have a happier, more cooperative family and a happier home.

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