Sibling Tips

If you are working to improve sibling relationships, it is suggested that you take the pressure off the individual relationship. Rather than saying, “you will love your sister,” “your brother is going to be your best friend for life,” or, “we are a family of love,” which puts tremendous pressure on the individual relationship, focus on teaching them how to treat people in general. Teach children play skills, emotion language, to listen to others when they speak and encourage a sense of empathy. The idea is to teach them social skills and allow that to trickle down to their individual relationship.
It is often beneficial to allow for the expression of negative emotions between siblings. When children are allowed to express negative emotions, they can move forward from the situation. When emotions are denied or negated, children have to dig in their heels. They have to get bigger and louder about the feelings or bottle it up, and it comes out in other ways. Accept and validate the emotions, then help them to express emotions in constructive ways, so they can move on.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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