Kids spend most of their time with their siblings than others. It is in this stage that they develop relationships and skills in interacting with others. Kids argue and have conflicts first with their siblings before they argue with their parents or playmates. What they fight about are petty reasons in an adult’s point of view but for them every issue is a biggie! A parent, through positive interaction, can teach each of the kids to view the other person’s perspective so that he or she will learn how to be compassionate and control his or her own temper when faced with conflict. By ironing out issues among each other, kids learn to know more about themselves and their siblings. The bond that they develop in smoothing things out will be stronger than a blood compact.
I’ve always wondered what relationship Abel and Cain had. It would have been ideal if siblings today live with the thought I am my brother’s keeper opposed to Cain’s thinking.
How does one teach kids to take care of his brother or sister?
Teach Empathy. Make them step on the other’s shoes. Ask questions to make them see others’ point of view. By doing so they will realize how it feels to be the other person.
Don’t Accuse. This is not an easy task, I have problems teaching my kids to not assume negatively of others and that they have no bad intention against them. Was I born with a thinking influenced by Thomas Hobbes? The key is to be calm and don’t be on either’s side. You are stepping on two different shoes too.
Listen. Time and again, what toddlers (even adults) need is a listening ear. If you don’t listen, one of them would pick on a sibling to get your attention. Your 100% attention will also teach them that listening smooths out problems.
Be Role Models. Shout and they shout, be calm and they would follow. Kids learn a lot from seeing and hearing, so parents should be careful with their own dealings. If they sense that mom is always there for dad and vice versa, they will know that being their sibling’s support is the right thing to do.
Play and learn. Going out to the playground, biking, picking flowers and stones are some of the things my kids enjoy doing together. They also like doing arts and crafts. They enjoy each others’ company and show cooperation when doing the aforementioned activities. In the process, they pull out the potential of each. A positive rivalry of sorts.
Arguments, rivalry and apathy are all part of childhood. A little bit red, a cup of orange, a dash of yellow, a teaspoon of green, a pinch of blue, a dollop of indigo frosted in violet makes childhood meaningful, colorful and fun! You just need to sprinkle rainbow candies on top to make everything a little sweeter than usual. 🙂