Kids are naturally going to want to one up their siblings…it is a fact of nature that seems to always rear it’s head in one way or another. Since I have daughters, it got me to wondering one day about why some sisters grow up extremely close while others seem to nearly hate one another. I mean….there has to be a pattern or a reason, right? How can I make sure I give my girls that close sisterhood ties that blesses them the rest of their lives?
After doing some digging, I have figured out a few things that are certainly important. Here is what I have found:
Do not compare them
This seems to be the number one thing to pop up where sibling rivalries are present and you can understand why. If you are compared to your loved one constantly growing up, you are going to eventually want to measure up. Either that or you would start to have really bad self-image issues which is even worse. Not comparing our children is a huge deal and should be avoided no matter what.
Teaching them to work together
There is a big difference between working together and being forced to work together. Find something they both love and teach them to use each other’s strengths. If you can find something like this, they will naturally gravitate towards one another. Kids will do this if you set them up to have winning circumstances.
Do not pit them against one another
This is another big no no. We all have seen this happen. The parent looks at kid A and says, “Hey…Kid B sure is minding well on this trip. What is up with you?” This is comparing like above but even worse…you are setting them up to fight. Don’t have one child set up to fight with the other. This takes some close attention to detail, but it is worth the extra attention.
Spend plenty of one on one time
If you want your kids to get along, it helps to have them both get time alone with you. This time allows them to develop their own identities and to grow confident. If you do this with some but not others, this can drive a wedge between sisters that will always be a problem. This kind of wedge can last a lifetime and should be avoided.
Cultivate a loving family atmosphere
Your daughters are going to follow your lead whether you know it or not. They see you and how you deal with siblings. If you have a tough relationship with a sibling, don’t put it out there until they are old enough to understand it. Do, however, talk about it and answer questions. Most of all, encourage your kids to love one another and to depend on one another to a certain extent. Robert De Niro kind of had it down pat with his whole “circle of trust” thing in the “Meet the Focker” films. Granted he took it to the extreme, but you get the idea. Make your home a circle of trust that they can always count on and encourage them to embrace the same.