Helping Your Children Understand One Another
If you have more than one child in your house, conflict between siblings is ultimately inevitable. But you don’t have to allow it to drive you crazy! As many of us know, the siblings we used to bicker with all the time are now our good friends as adults. Here are a few tips that may help those friendships form just a tiny bit sooner:
1. Teach your children about the temperaments. Explain that our differences are what makes family life so fun at times and also why it can be hard to get along at other times. Dinner is a perfect opportunity to highlight our differences in a good way! Take turns going around the table and sharing the things you appreciate about each other. For example, “I appreciate you because you’re so thoughtful,” or, “I love how you always make me laugh.”
2. Allow your children to work it out among themselves. Hold yourself back from always stepping in. When your kids come to you complaining about each other’s behavior, it’s okay to tell them, “You guys need to go work it out.”
3. If you decide that you do need to step in and separate them, go ahead and do it, but try to help each child understand the needs of the other. For example, “Your brother needs a little space from you right now, so we are going to give it to him.” Praying together is one way to foster empathy among your kids for one another. Our kids’ hearts are usually softer at nighttime and open to this kind of conversation. For example, “Remember when your brother got so angry with you earlier today? I think he was still really upset about his homework assignment. What if we prayed for him together right now?”
It’s completely normal for siblings to fuss at each other, so next time it happens, try to think of it as an opportunity to help your kids work on their one-day friendship and don’t let it drive you crazy!