TURN SIBLING RIVALRY INTO SIBLING REVELRY
by Jill Savage
adapted from My Hearts at Home
Do you ever feel like your house feels more like a boxing arena than a home? Do you tire of the arguing and fighting that happens between your children? If so you may need to do what the Savage family had to do. We made a decision to turn sibling rivalry into sibling revelry.
In his book Keep The Siblings
, Lose The Rivalry , author Todd Cartmell tells us there are three reasons we have sibling rivalry:
Reason #3: You have more than one child.
Reason #2: Your children live in the same house.
Reason #1: Your children’s living-together skills are still developing.
There’s not too much a parent can do about numbers 2 and 3
, but some intentional strategy in approaching reason number 1 is what we found helpful in turning sibling rivalry into sibling revelry.
o Strategy #1: Play Together
Every child longs to belong. When families intentionally spend time together they increase the family bond
, ultimately helping each family member feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
o Strategy #2: Connect Individually
Children won’t vie for your attention if they know they have it already. Make each child feel like an only child by taking the kids out on dates with one or both parents
, taking them school shopping by themselves , or spending time laying on their bed at night talking.
o Strategy #3: Set Clear Standards and Expectations
Most of the time
, kids will rise to the standard that is set. When we deal with misbehavior it is often because the child is looking for the boundary line. Let your family know that sibling respect is the standard in your family. We call family meetings to set standards , call everyone back to a standard that is slipping , or brainstorm ways we can encourage one another.
o Strategy #4: Model and Teach Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills
If Joey and Suzie see mom and dad yell and scream at one another in conflict
, you can almost bet the two siblings will handle conflict the same way. If you and your spouse don’t resolve conflict with healthy communication skills , seek out help in developing conflict management skills that will take your marriage the distance and foster healthy family relationships.
, kids will be kids. They will argue and disagree. But they don’t have to be disrespectful when they do. A strategy to change rivalry to revelry helps keep our home an emotionally safe place to be.
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Thank you so much for sharing these tips! With summer quickly approaching, I need these strategies to help us all enjoy our time together. I think my kids forget how lucky they really are to have each other. 🙂
Some days I think my 13 year old literally hates his 7 year old brother. It breaks my heart. I want them to be friends. Now, don't get me wrong, the 7 year old is no angle. He is quiet and sneaky and I often don't know what he is doing until I hear the 13 year old screaming at him. My husband and I never yell at one another and rarely ever fight. We are both guilty of yelling at our kids for whatever reason…..sometimes maybe it's justified, others defiantly not. I remember growing up in a home when my mom screamed at me for reasons that seemed unnecessary. I don't want to be like that. But I need a way to sound stern and authoritative to my boys and they only respond to me seems to be when I raise my voice. I hate that. Now I'm just rambling/venting…boundaries are a must as we enter the summer months. If you have any other pointers…PLEASE let me know. 🙂 <3
It's natural for a 13 year old to be irritated by a 7 year old sibling. It's not ok, however, for either of them to be disrespectful to each other in a time of conflict. I would suggest it's time for a family pow-wow where you set the standard (and maybe even role-play) for how conflict between the two boys will be handled. It has to be handled with respectful communication. And in order to turn that around, you'll need to positively reinforce with encouraging words when they do it right. And you'll need to be consistent with consequences when they handle conflict disrespectfully. Does that help?
I'm stopping in from the Ultimate Blog Party. Your advice on sibling rivalry is great! I have two that are very close in age, and at times the bickering drives me nuts! "Respect" is the word I'm trying to instill in this house, too!
THANKS, JILL!!! 🙂