Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Positive Discipline
Potty Training
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

Getting Along With Siblings

One moment your kids are the very best of friends. The next moment they are yelling and screaming at each other so loudly that you're sure someone will call the police. There's no guarantee that your children will get along, especially all the time, but there are things you can do to foster good relationships between your children. After all, they're kind of stuck with each other. Preschoolers and kindergartners don't consider age as they compare themselves with their siblings. An older sibling may feel neglected when a new baby brother or sister gets all the attention. A younger child may feel left out if his older sibling has more privileges. Conflict between kids is normal, but it's up to parents to help kids manage sibling relationships.

Helping Kids Feel Valued

Kids are more likely to get along if they feel valued. Help your child understand that, regardless of his age, his is special and individual. Do this by following these guidelines:

  • Encourage individuality.
  • Avoid comparing your children.
  • Praise each child's individual strengths.
  • Help each child understand the privileges that come with his/her age.
  • Spend quality time with each child, both together and individually.

Dealing with Sibling Conflicts

Dealing with conflicts between siblings takes a light hand. There's no need to step in at the slightest sign of bickering. As a matter of fact, intervening in each argument actually reinforces bad behavior. Avoid getting involved unless a rule is being broken (like bullying) or one child is at risk of being harmed. When you do have to step in, try to follow these guidelines:

  • Encourage kids to find their own solution.
  • Separate kids that are at risk of escalating their argument into a fight.
  • When you have to mediate, listen but don't judge.
  • Let all children involved know that fights are penalized equally. Anyone involved in a fight is to be responsible.

Never allow outright fighting or bullying. Don't force kids to play together "nicely" if they are just not getting along. Most siblings will naturally gravitate toward each other at times and away from each other at other times. Understand that this relationship ebb and flow is normal and natural and encourage your kids to both interact with each other as well as engage in individual activities.