Go from conflict to conciliation When you discovered you were pregnant with another child, your first thoughts probably focused on the benefits a brother or sister would bring to your firstborn — not scenes of sibling rivalry. But tug-of-war toy spats, backseat pinching, and dinner table bickering often go hand in hand with having two or more children.
Helping siblings to get along as they grow up is one of the toughest tasks mums and dads face. To help your children develop close bonds that will last a lifetime follow these six steps to sibling serenity.
Let your children care for one another Encourage your children to nurture one another: Whenever possible, take a step back and allow them to look after each other. This way, your toddler will see himself as a compassionate person rather than a troublemaker.
And your baby will be able to perceive her big brother as a gentle, caring person. Instead, you might say something like: In the whole, wide world there is no one quite like you. But be careful not to compare. Nothing breeds resentment like piling on praise at the expense of another child: Your intentions may be good when you tell your toddler: And try to avoid pigeonholing your children into certain roles, such as the Brain, the Beauty, the Nice One, the Difficult One.
Growing children need to experiment with lots of different roles, and you risk ensuring that the Troublemaker becomes forever just that and resents the siblings whose roles he wishes he could try. Make time for your toddler A newborn can be all-absorbing, but try to find time when you can be alone with your firstborn — even if it's just a few minutes at bedtime or taking the time to really listen when he's talking to you.
Think of ways you can help your older child not feel left out when you're caring for the baby. Do you want me to read to you or do you want to rest? And don't forget to put your older child first from time to time.
Once in a while, when the baby is crying, instead of saying, "The baby is making a fuss, hold on," try saying, "Hold on, baby. I have to tie Charlie's shoes.
Embrace conflict Some sibling rivalry is an inevitable fact of family life when you have more than one child. Some experts say that sibling conflict is an opportunity for your children to learn the skills they will need in their future relationships. Help your children understand that it's normal to feel frustrated and upset, sometimes even with the people you love, but it doesn't mean you care about them less.
Then you can start to help them find positive ways to express their feelings and work out their differences. Listen to grievances, acknowledge concerns Listen to your child's grievances against a sibling rather than dismiss them, and encourage them to listen to one another. You'll be tempted to play the part of judge "You're always being mean to your little sister! You don't have to agree with him. Your role is to be a calm mediator who listens to each child's side of the story so they both feel heard and understood.
Go from conflict to conciliation Help your children identify their feelings "You two sound so cross with each other!
Then you can guide them towards a peaceful resolution "Do you want to pretend there's a fire and play with it together? Or do you want to take turns?
For your toddler who is stomping his feet and screaming with rage, you can help by voicing what he's feeling, such as: Let's find a safe place to play with them so it won't happen again. Then help them begin to start expressing their frustration in a more positive way — through talking, listening and deciding on a compromise. Enter your due date or child's birthday Trying to conceive?
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