Siblings: How to Help them be Friends Forever

May 21, 2016

Quote of the Week

"Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one." -- Anonymous

Siblings: How To Help Them Be Friends Forever

"My kids, 22 months apart, are best friends more often than not. But the recent winter break tested their love, to put it mildly. By the end of two-weeks spent mostly in each other's presence, a typical exchange had Older Sister declaring "I am SICK OF YOU," followed by Younger Sister screaming "GET AWAY FROM ME! Just get AWAY from me!"

I find this horrifying. Meanness—to your sibling, or anyone, ever—is not a happiness habit. What to do?

I know that most siblings fight, and that social scientists have consistently recorded high levels of hostility in sibling relationships relative to other relationships. But this is not okay with me; I want my kids to be kind to each other. My dad and his brother are lifelong best friends and business partners. My brother and I are close friends. I want this for my kids, too. But how?

Fortunately, we parents of multiple children have some good science to guide us." In this week's featured article, Dr. Christine Carter from Greater Good Science Center shares what research reveals are helpful ways to foster positive and connected relationships between siblings.

Reading Corner

Title: Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings
By: Dr. Laura Markham
Stage: 0-8 years

Why? "In the peaceful parenting household, there are no time-outs. Stickers, toys, and candy are not rewards for good behavior. And when it comes to siblings, children aren't taught to share, but to take turns. With this book, Markham (Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids) aims to help readers effect a subtle but powerful paradigm shift and raise children who are self-regulated and driven by empathy rather than a reward/punishment dynamic. Model conversations are idealized but artfully crafted--"I guess it hurt your feelings when your sister wouldn't let you play with her and her friend... you still can't stand outside her door and scream like that, sweetie"--and provide an entire vocabulary for the book's philosophy. [...] Markham makes her case most through common sense, putting the responsibility on parents to exemplify peaceful, positive behavior that uplifts the entire family." --Publishers Weekly

Be the Change

Seek out an opportunity this week to offer your children a positive play experience. Offering them the chance to do something fun together that they both really enjoy, can enhance and strengthen their bond, enabling them to be more empathetic towards each other as well. To inspire you further, you might enjoy reading this article that shares what is at the root of incredible sibling bonds and how they support us throughout our lives.