Tips to Foster a Healthy Sibling Relationship Between Your Kids
The relationship with our sibling is something that most of us treasure forever in our lives. The times that spent with our sibling, childhood days, the laughter, the fun, the fights all make happy memories. Do you want your children too to create such happy memories and have an everlasting bond with each other? Then this article will guide you through to help you help your children create an everlasting bond between themselves
Why Is a Healthy Relationship Between Siblings Necessary?
Sibling bond is an emotional and powerful bond. Here are a few reasons why a healthy bond between siblings is an absolute necessity and the best thing to have.
- Growing up together with a sibling teaches your child many life lessons like making friends, solving issues or problems and most importantly how to be his true self.
- A sibling can be his best support system, not just during childhood but more so during old age when he may have few people who understand him well.
- While others may know and understand him, including his parents, nobody can know and understand a child better than his sibling. There will be fights, arguments and differences between siblings but these emotions make the relationship more real.
- Since one sibling knows everything about the other sibling, there is no scope of hiding anything. In times of distress, he can go ahead and share it with his sibling without the fear of being judged. Therefore comfort and support are a few things your child will easily get if the bond with his sibling is strong.
- Having a good bond with a sibling is great for mental as well as physical well-being. Only a sibling is someone with whom he can share all his frustrations, grievances, grief, happiness and empathise with him in distress and be genuinely happy for him during your good times.
What Factors Affect a Sibling Bond?
Factors which affect the bond between siblings are:
1. Personal Traits
Even if they are born of the same parents and share the same genes, being different individuals, they may have different characteristic traits. Some may be an introvert and not like mingling with others while the other sibling may be an extrovert and love to go out, make friends, etc.
2. Age Difference
It is believed that having less than two years of age difference can cause conflicts and rivalry between siblings. Having a sibling with many years of age difference is said to bring about more understanding and love for the other.
3. Parental Treatment
Sibling rivalry is common, but too much of it may give way to jealousy which may be harmful to the relationship. Parents may be biased towards one child, giving rise to jealousy and hatred in the mind of the other child. This does not foster a good bond between siblings; on the contrary, it may break the bond.
Cultural differences also affect sibling bonding. In some cultures, the upbringing or the cultural setup is such that sibling bonding although important, isn’t a necessity. In India, having a strong bond with your sibling is often an obligation to such an extent that we have festivals to celebrate the bond between a brother and a sister like Bhai Duj or Raksha Bandhan. In Indian culture, the elder sibling(s) is usually expected to be the caregivers of the younger siblings in the absence or even at times, the presence of the parents.
How to Encourage a Healthy Relationship Between Your Children
Family forms a very important part of our lives and siblings are a significant part of it. Here are a few ways you should teach your children:
1. Spending Some Time Together Religiously
If not every day, encourage him to spend some time with his sibling once a week or once a fortnight. Going out once a month on lunch dates or for a movie is also good enough. The main reason for such meetings is to talk and understand if everything is going on fine in the other’s lives.
2. Always be Ready to Help Each Other
You may be super busy with work, so being of help to his sibling should be on his list of priorities. Standing by his sibling’s side and being supportive in times of need is what will get both your children closer.
Understanding his sibling and giving him or her emotional support will go a long way in creating a strong bond between your children. When they share something with him, be it their grief or distress, he should hear patiently without judging. After listening, he should give his opinion or point of view without blaming or accusing them. Let them know that no matter what, they have his back.
4. Be in Regular Touch
At times, meeting up with a sibling regularly may not be possible more so if both live thousands of miles away. In that case, the only way is by being in regular touch through phone or messages. Tell your grown-up children to create a sibling group on WhatsApp or catch up on video call once in a few days. This will give both a feeling of being near to each other.
5. Let Go of Old Grievances
Is he still holding onto some emotional bruise that his sibling may have given him when he was young? As hard it may seem, tell him to just let go of it. Negativity gives nothing; only pain and unpleasantness. If you want your child’s relationship with his sibling to strengthen, you must encourage him to brush all of it aside and start afresh.
Tips for Parents to Build a Solid Sibling Bonding Between Their Kids
The relationship between siblings is a mix of love and hatred. It is imperative for parents to teach their children the importance of a good sibling relationship. Therefore, we bring you a few effective tips to help your children in building a strong and beautiful bond with each other.
1. Be a Role-model
Nurture a close relationship with your sibling. With this adult sibling bond, your children will understand the importance of closeness with a sibling. Encourage them to do the same with their sibling. Picking up the phone and talking to your sibling, going out with your sibling for shopping, movies and to eat out, or being there to support them in times of distress will be good learning for your child about how to stay close to his sibling. In case you have lost touch with your sibling, try and revive it by meeting up with them or talking to them. This will teach your children how to fix a broken sibling relationship or even a difficult sibling relationship.
2. Instil the Importance of Relationships
From the time they are small, narrate childhood incidents with your sibling or tell them stories about how one sibling helped another during troubled times. All these activities will help them in understanding how vital and important it is for siblings to stay united.
3. Make Them Do Things Together
Observe and understand the common activities both enjoy doing. Accordingly, plan out their play time and make them do sibling bonding activities that both have an interest in. You are giving the siblings more time to be together and know each other better which will help in strengthening their bond.
4. Educate Them on Teamwork
Make your children understand that working as a team will help them do more big things. Encourage them to perform activities or tasks together and work out solutions together when they face challenges. This will instil a sense of achievement and also create a warm bond between them.
5. Teach Them to Care For Each other
Encourage your children to care for each other. Ask him to help you in taking care when the other is sick.
6. Teach Them to Stand for Each Other
There are different types of sibling relationships – half siblings, step siblings and traditional siblings; but whatever the type, teach them to stand for each other through thick and thin.
7. No Complaining
Do not encourage any complaints or tattling of one sibling against the other. This will only generate negativity between the siblings.
8. No Taking Sides
As a parent, it is vital to stay unbiased. Never take the side of one child and reprimand the other. This will create hostility between your children and leave a negative impact.
Parents want their children to be close to each other. This is important for a child’s emotional growth. Follow the tips given and see your children grow close to each other.