All siblings’ fight; that’s normal and healthy. There is such a thing, however, as too much. If you want your kids to get along—and help you not go crazy in the process—here are four things you can do to keep the peace in the family and foster a loving friendship amongst your children.
1.) Allow for Time Apart
It’s important to recognize and respect your kids’ individuality. Maybe you have three kids who are close in age; maybe they even like to do all the same things; but they’re still not the same people. Set aside special time each week where you as parents get alone time with each child individually. Take part in an activity you all love to do together.
This also gives the siblings time apart—something that can be very important, especially if they’re close in age. If they’re going to school together, doing the same activities together, and hanging out with the same friends, the problem could be that they’re just spending too much time together. Everyone needs their space!
2.) And on the Flip Side…
Make sure you schedule quality family time every week. Maybe you all put your busy schedules aside and make dinner together; maybe you all go bowling. Stay away from activities that hinder conversation, like going to a movie. Choose an activity that basically forces you to interact with each other in a fun and exciting way.
3.) Don’t Assume that Your Children Will All Have the Same Interests
Remember what we were talking about earlier regarding respecting your kids’ individuality? This is an extension of that. It becomes even more important when you have kids who are multiples (twins, triplets, etc.). It’s tempting to go Christmas shopping and buy your three daughters the same thing, but maybe in different colors. All you’re telling your children, however, is that you think they’re all the same. This hinders their own growing, and they may come to resent each other for it.
4.) Remain Neutral
Obviously, if one of your children does something wrong, you should acknowledge it and discipline them accordingly. There is a way to do this, however, without choosing sides. Be sure you’re staying neutral even when the children aren’t misbehaving. For example, you might gravitate toward your daughter, who prefers reading to TV, since you love to read as well; but don’t forget about your son who loves having sword fights. If your children see you favoring one over the other, someone will undoubtedly feel left out.
Always remember that children respect and respond to boundaries; find a good balance in how you spend time with your family; and encourage your kids to make each other a priority. With all of the people that come and go during your lifetime, siblings are the people that you will always be able to count on!
Nancy Meyers writes for several education sites and suggests finding information on the Top 10 Best Online Counseling Degree Programs.