Tips for Developing Positive Relationships between Siblings

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…

Suggested Reading:

  • 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.

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