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

Sibling Relationships

Most siblings enjoy bonds that supply a lifetime of support and caring. But, when they're preschool and/or kindergarten age, the relationships between siblings can seem more like a war. Some studies have shown that early sibling relationships have a great deal to do with how we interact with others as adults. For this reason, and many more, it's important to foster healthy sibling relationships.

Your child's siblings are his first peers. You can model good social behavior, but your child's relationship with his siblings teaches him how to deal with other kids his age. Surprisingly, age has little to do with the positive or negative influence sibling relationships can have. So, it doesn't matter if your kids are one year or five years apart, their future relationships will be greatly influenced by their relationships with each other.

Sibling Rivalry

Young children have a way of thinking about their parents that is rather limited. Without a way to gauge love, they tend to believe that their parents have a finite amount of love to distribute between their offspring. Because of this, rivalries may develop as kids spar for the love and attention of their parents. As parents, we need to reassure our kids that we really do have enough love to go around.

Learning Conflict Resolution

Because siblings are often a child's first peer group, they stand to learn a lot from the relationship. Kids learn conflict resolution, cooperative play, and friendships from their siblings – often before they learn to manage these things with other children. Additionally, older siblings can be encouraged to share experiences and mentor younger siblings. In the same manner, younger children may look up to an older sibling. Not all sibling relationships are smooth sailing, however, and parents should not force the issue. Like any relationship, sibling relationships can have highs and lows.

Encourage older children to talk about how they feel about their younger sibling(s), and allow him that feeling of superiority that comes from being the older child. Foster positive relationships whenever possible to help kids understand how relationships work. Not all sibling relationships are close, and even siblings that are inseparable as children may not grow apart as they get older, so enjoy those moments when their heads are together in play.