5 Ways to Foster Sibling Love
Confession: Sometimes my daughters argue.
Sometimes they even hurt each other, though usually by accident.
They yell, “I hate you” when they don’t get their way.
They storm into their rooms and I hear boom … pause, pause … boom!
Words get tossed around like pizza crust.
And then, just like that, they are cuddled up next to each other reading a book, holding hands or figuring out how they can dress exactly the same to own their twin-ness even more. Just like that they are playing mommy and baby or two teachers in a classroom or zoo keepers tending their animals.
I don’t have any sisters and my brother, now 21, was born when I was practically moving out of the house for college. He was more like my own son than a brother. I took care care of him.
There were no arguments and there never have been.
“I wish I had a sister like you,” I told my daughter one day when she was getting a bandaid for her sister’s tiny boo-boo.
“Well, you have us,” she said, rushing up the stairs to tend to her twin’s paper cut.
But, sisters … oh wow. The Love. The Passion. The Friendship. The DRAMA.
It’s been 7 years and the sibling dynamic is something I am still figuring out but I know a whole lot more now than I did in the beginning and it goes something like this:
HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THEIR FEELINGS — We all get angry when we don’t get our way. We must help siblings understand their anger is not toward their sister or brother but toward the frustration of the situation.
HELP THEM LEARN TO MAKE UP — I stopped long ago making my girls say they are sorry. Instead, we give them other ideas of different ways to show that they are sorry and make up. Draw a picture. Make them a small snack. Bring them their favorite teddy bear. Ask them to play. Help her clean up the mess.
HELP THEM SHOW THEIR LOVE — When things are good, praise them for being good sisters or good brothers. Point out the great moments of sharing, of working as a team and showing love that you witness.
HELP THEM BE INDEPENDENT — Just because they are sisters doesn’t mean they have to do everything the same. Encourage quiet time and separate time. Talk about how their differences are beautiful and make them unique. Show them how they are alike as well so that they can see and appreciate their differences. Don’t make them play together. Don’t make them dress alike. Don’t make them like each other if that’s not in the cards for them today.
HELP THEM BE KIND — Be Kind is our first house rule. To do this, we must model kindness. Siblings often need gentle reminders that kindness is more than just going out of your way. It’s about using kind words. It’s about helping others be kind. Give them a project to work on together that fosters being kind to each other and to others.
How about you? Any tips to offer on fostering a great sibling relationship? Did your parents make you do anything you hated when you fought with your siblings?
ABOUT SHAWN: Shawn Ledington Fink is the author of The Playful Family and the Thinking Mama behind the Abundant Mama who is changing the world — one family at a time. She is a peace and kindness spreader and offers an e-course called The Abundant Mama Project that leads women into a daily gratitude practice.
CONTINUE READING IN THE FAMILY ROOM