Maybe your kids don’t hate each other, but do they get along?
How can a mom or dad cope with the daily bickering between siblings?
Not only do incessant squabbles cause undesired stress in the home, they also create a rift between siblings that could become best friends.
“Mom, he stole my bear!”
“Mom, he’s sitting in my spot!”
“Mom, she made a mean face at me!”
“Mom, she called me dumb!”
Healthy sibling relationships is a subject that weighs heavily on my mind.
I want my kids to cultivate sibling relationships that are beautiful, close-knit ,and unique.
My kids don’t understand this now, but many times our family is all we have!
Can Siblings Be Best Friends?
In order to help my kids be besties, I developed a plan.
And it does help.
It keeps the minor skirmishes down, which eliminates a more serious problem — broken relationships between siblings that progress into adulthood.
Seriously, some brothers and sisters never learn to let the past go and even hold grudges for their entire life.
It’s one of my parenting responsibilities to help my kids understand the importance of relationships.
And sibling relationships is at the top of the list!
How to Help Siblings Become Besties
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #1: Calm the storm.
Most arguments between siblings are caused by both kids involved.
My husband and I make both of the arguing kids sit down and stop playing or whatever activity they were engaged in.
This gives us and them time to calm down and collect all needful information.
I find sorting through issues is much more effective if the child and the parent are both calm.
If you are irritated and stressed, take a five-minute cool down session and then return and deal with your munchkins.
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #2: Play a game.
I know, the last thing on your mind is letting the kids play a game, but this one isn’t exactly Candy-land.
When two kids are constantly arguing, we make them play “The Love Game.”
Both kids have to sit down and hold hands.
Then, they both say five positive things about the other person.
Lastly, they have to hug and forgive each other.
Only after all these steps have been accomplished can they return to their previous activity.
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #2: Change activities.
If an activity tends to spark skirmishes, we take that activity away for one week.
After one week, the kids can try to resume that activity.
If bickering ignites, the activity comes to a halt.
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #3: Change scenery.
Maybe your kids just need some fresh air.
Put down the school books or broom and head outside.
If weather doesn’t permit, make a tent in your living room and pretend your outside in the jungle.
We use this list of 16 rainy day activities if the weather is yucky outside!
Use your imagination and just give your kids a day to “get away from it all.”
Budget and circumstance may not allow you to take a trip to the park or children’s museum, but your kids will love a change in the daily monotony of school and chores.
Sometimes even adults get grumpy when we have been cooped up too!
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #4: Try the System.
It’s a point system we developed in order to curb bad habits.
As habits change, we change the point system as well.
Name-calling, complaining, and not completing chores are all on the system.
For each “misdemeanor” a certain amount of points is deducted for that week.
When Friday rolls around, if a child has lost 50 points or more they are not allowed to come to our family slumber party where we enjoy fun snacks, movies, games and a late night.
Many of the disagreements around our house result from the above-mentioned misdemeanors.
If I am consistent with the system, the fussing among siblings greatly lessens.
If I lose track of points, which I admittedly do at times, the fussing elevates.
Whatever parenting tool in sibling relationships works for your family — stick with it!
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #5: Focus on love.
Our kids know love is patient and love is kind, but sometimes they need to be reminded.
As trite as it may sound, having small reminders throughout the day on loving our neighbors, family, and siblings can really help deter squabbles and spats.
Take the time to address the negative attitude and use every opportunity to teach your kids about true love — love that puts others first and self last.
Making Siblings Be Best Friends Tip #6: Never Exclude
This can get annoying at times for older kids and teens, but it’s a principle I’ve seen help our family tremendously.
Now with a 19, 17, 16, 13, 12, and 10 year old I get why this was SO important years ago.
When planning a special birthday party, we never exclude any siblings.
When planning a fun day trip, all siblings are encouraged to come.
I even have a super introverted child that prefers to be at home with her books (they’re her best friends…ha!)
But, I always coax her into coming with her siblings and the rest of us out to a mall, park, or bowling day.
After she finally gets out of her comfort zone, she soon realizes it’s actually fun to leave the house…with her siblings!
Even if one teenager quietly rolls their eyes about the youngest kid going…the youngest kid still goes.
That way they’re having fun — TOGETHER.
And this ONE tip has truly helps our kids become best friends.
Making Siblings Best Friends Tip #7: Everyone celebrates Special Events in Their Sibling’s Life
Someone graduating? We all celebrate this event!
Someone loses a tooth? We all high five or fist bump the young kid.
Plus, a few of us give him or her a few dollars because we’ve ALL become the “tooth fairy.”
Someone taking their drivers test? We all bake cupcakes and plan a movie night to celebrate….whatever happens! ;0)
Someone having a recital? We ALL put it on our calendars and attend.
Someone getting a reward? We all make it special and focus on the achievement.
Making Siblings Best Friends Tip #8: Kids Listen to Each Other
We stop our entire family’s conversation (all 8 of us!) if someone is being left out or talked over.
We’ll pause and say, “Hold on! Mary-Lynn was trying to say something!”
And we’ll listen…
No matter if she’s the youngest person int he family.
Everyone gets an opportunity to speak and everyone is required to listen.
So when siblings speak, our kids have learned quickly, to show kindness and truly listen.
It can get loud fast in our family, but we want everyone to be able to share important thoughts or events in their life.
And we also teach every child to listen to their siblings.
How Are You Helping Your Kids Become Best Friends?
I would love to hear about it! Share your thoughts in our Parents Connect group!