Sibling Bliss???

It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.
-Dylan Thomas

I had my second child and our family seemed to be bucking the sibling rivalry trend.  My son would kiss his baby sister lovingly and laugh when she rolled around the floor cooing and giggling.  Then she started to walk.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  My son was quietly playing with Legos at his child’s table and my little angel ran up to the table, grabbed a Lego and with a devilish grin on her face ran off with it.  My son was shocked and immediately yelled, “Mom!”  It was the beginning of the end.

All families with more than one child experience sibling rivalry and it’s normal, but what can we do to lessen the intense feelings and forge healthy relationships among siblings? While the reasons for sibling rivalry are numerous and complicated, there are ways to survive it.  A few ideas are:

  • Instead of dismissing a child’s negative feelings about a sibling acknowledge the feelings  “You don’t like me spending so much time with the baby.”
  • Help children discharge their angry feelings safely “Draw me a picture of how angry you are.”
  •  Don’t give attention to the aggressor; attend to the injured party instead (this helps change behavior).
  • Learn about child development.

The sibling bond is not all bad  –  there can be sweet moments as well.  Try to savor them!

By Claire Gawinowicz,
Certified Parenting Educator

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