If we want our children to have a close relationship with their siblings, then we must learn to refrain from comparing them in any way. As soon as we place them in any kind of a competition, we are chipping away at their ability to maintain healthy loving bonds. When a new baby enters a household, havoc begins. The older sibling is threatened. After all they had mom and dad all to themselves. Now they must wait before their needs are met. Why would they want to embrace this new person arriving on the scene? Parents need to instruct the child but do not want to yell at them when they attempt to hit their sibling. You must talk about the new baby explaining how much the baby and they are loved. Keep an eye on what transpires but allow the resident sibling chances to view and touch as well as help with the new baby.
When there is aggression towards the new arrival, it must be dealt with in a teaching quiet demeanor. The older sibling is not always attuned to the benefits of having a sibling. At the moment the baby is seen as an intruder and a rival. If parents can discipline with kindness the child learns to gradually accept the new baby. If parents yell or constantly punish the older child, he or she resents the new baby.
As the new individual grows and is able to interact more with their sibling, the bonds develop. Now they have a companiion in mischief. Parents must now be careful not to blame the older sibling for all of the wrongdoings even if they initiated most of the problems. Both children need to be admonished which will register fairness to the older sibling. Keeping the sibling relationship healthy is important. It also maintains a better rapport in the parent child relationship. As long as children understand they are not being replaced or losing the battle they will openly accept siblings.
There must never be the competition of who is the nicer child, more appealing or capable child or dependable child to mom and dad. Parents must attempt to hinder this attitude with other relatives. A simple reply of, “We don’t compare the kids,” is all that may be necessary. Kids have excellent hearing and will listen to any remarks that in any way compare them to a sibling. The whispers or paper swapping will be noticed and understood. The child who is depended upon to shine may tire of this role. It puts pressure on them. The child who is considered less active will live up to our expectations without attempting to do better assuming they can’t compare in a certain area.
If children believe their sibling is to be blamed for their receiving less attention they will resent the new sibling. If the older sibling is always accused of making trouble, they will retaliate with anger and aggression. The younger sibling learns quickly that the older sibling will be blamed if they cry or run to the parent. Of course at times they could be right but a blanket accusation of accusing the older child will leave everyone miserable and partially destroy the attachments.
Parents want to discipline their children and should. If you discipline with love especially when it comes to siblings, it allows you to maintain healthy relationships all around. Your children will support each other rather than compete. They will understand their parents love is unconditional and not based on their being more lovable or likable or smarter than their siblling or siblings. We as parents are asking too much to assume every child will simply follow rules without understanding. Some kids will but some won’t. We might have to work a little harder with those kids. In the process we shold never make them feel they are compared to the quicker learner of the rules. The kids are different, born in their own order and come from a variety of family sizes. Recognizing our role to give unconditional love and plenty of time and space to learn, provides a nurturing atmosphere that is non-threatening. Arriving at this state of affairs brings greater harmony to the home and family as well as keeps family bonds and feelings intact.
Our attitude of fairness and restricting competition ought to continue. Children need space to enjoy their own interests. They need the freedom to develop their true identities without the burden of parents’ wishes and desires. In so doing they develop skills of all kinds including empathy and love because they have been taught through their associations with parents and siblings. Rivalry has deceased from their home environment. Most likely it will appear outside of the home but they will have support to deal with those challenges.
If parents nurture winning, they will foster competition and losers. If they foster life and love they will encourage empathy, empowerment and satisfaction in their children. Their kids will be more tempted to try new things because the pressure is off. If they fail at it they can move on to something else with their egos intact. The legacy we want to endow to our children is one of acceptance and love. They in turn will offer these attributes to others. We will have created strong individuals not easily pressured or controlled. The love in the family will be impossible to destroy.
All of us have experienced growing up in a variety of homes and situations. We may have to overcome dilemmas we experienced in those environments. We will most likely be parents one day and the enforcer of the guidelines. It will be up to us to choose wisely. If we are conflicted with the way our parents chose to raise us, then we have the opportunity to improve. We shouldn’t toss out blame or accusations at our parents, but we can improve our game. What an amazing world we will be creating for ourselves and our children and grandchildren. It really is something worth thinking about.