One of the major concerns, besides fighting, that parents identify continuously is their fear that their children hate each other. This is a concern that is commonly shared by most parents. Here are some tips that will help you promote positive relationships between your children:
- Acknowledge and praise your children when they are playing well together
- Each day find at least three things your children do well and let them know you like it
- Acknowledge and praise your child when they express kindness, love or consideration towards their sibling and identify this act of kindness to the sibling receiving it
- During occasions of celebration (birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, graduation, etc…) encourage siblings to make a card or give to give one another
- Encourage moments of sharing
- Spend time with each sibling separately. This will promote individuality and it will also prevent children from vying for your attention
- Encourage expressions of love and affection by modelling and by indirect suggestions: hugs, kisses, handshakes, “I love you,” “I like what you did,” “Thank you for helping me,” (encouraging politeness with one another), “Happy Birthday,” “I’m sorry you lost your favourite doll.”
- Allow special times together. Have fun. For example, reading together, playing family games, family outings, dinner out to celebrate something…
- Siblings Without Rivalry: By Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
- A Parent’s Guide To Child Discipline: By Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D.
- Parenting Young Children: Systemic Training For Effective Parenting (STEP): By Don Dinkmeyer Sr., Gary D. McKay and James S. Dinkmeyer
- The Difficult Child: By Stanley Turecki, M.D. with Leslie Tonner
*Most books are available at Parentbooks- 416-537-8334
Susan Lieberman is in private practice in Toronto as a family therapist and public speaker. For more information call (416) 512-6356.