SUPPORTING SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS
I am so happy you have found the 3D Parent Podcast. My name is Beaven Walters, and I am your host. Before I created the 3D Parent, I spent over 10 years teaching in various educational settings. I have always had a passion for working with children. After my first child was born, and not too long after my second, I discovered I was truly passionate about parenting in a way that worked for my children. So, I became a certified parent coach to help not only myself, but other parents who were struggling through a tough season in parenting just like me.
This podcast was created with the parent in mind. I am going to be covering the 3D Parent method and systems, so you can gain tangible tools to help you bring dignity, direction and deep connection to your family dynamic. My goal is to help you become the most confident parent you can be, and feel empowered in your parenting choices.
THINGS YOU WILL LEARN IN EP. 27: SUPPORTING SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS
[01:39] To start off the episode, we’re going to talk about sibling conflict. Some kids get along great, while other kids tend to have a very passionate relationship with a lot of fighting. Most of us experience a little bit of both, and with all this togetherness and time spent at home with schools closed, you're probably seeing some ebb and flows between your children and their relationships. If you have more than one child, chances are this is something you're very familiar with.
[04:58] The #1 strategy that is shared again and again when your kids get into a conflict is you need to separate them. That seems kind of obvious but a lot of times, parents will go right into trying to solve the problem and get their kids to get along right away. Sometimes, this method is possible but most of the time, the frustration level is just too high and there’s no way to make the kids talk through their issues in a way that is helpful. The key thing to do here is to separate your kids, get them focused on an activity, and in doing so, give them ample time to cool off.
[06:25] We go back to the concept of the first D in the 3D parent which is dignity. It can be really helpful to bear this in mind when separating your kids or maybe a child who seems to be particularly frustrated with what’s going on. What your child needs at this point is to have a safe space where they can vent their frustrations privately, neither in front of an audience nor in front of their sibling that they’re having a challenge with. That way, they can express their frustrations while still keeping their dignity.
[09:13] As parents, we need to be reminded sometimes that our kids are still young and emotionally immature. Sometimes the thought of letting them figure things out on their own crosses our minds. However, as the mature adult, we need to be the one to offer ourselves as a resource for them. So when a problem arises, we can help before things get out of control.
[10:31] Another suggestion that I have for dealing with sibling conflict is to avoid the use of even and fair language. Most of us parents who have more than one child probably heard our kids say, “It’s not fair!”, more times than we can ever hope to hear for the rest of our lives. It seems to be the warcry of children who have siblings. What you need to learn is to embrace the idea that things aren’t going to be fair and they might be different. It also takes a lot of experience for our kids to embrace this idea that not everything is going to look exactly the same, and when they aren’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not fair. So, rather than jumping right into the fairness, focus on what else really needs to be communicated instead.
[13:05] If your kids are prone to a lot of aggression and get into a lot of physical altercations that involve actions like hitting or kicking, it can be a really good idea to present playtime activities for them to do when they’re getting along that are aggressive in nature. Great examples of these include “fights” using water balloons, pompoms, paper balls, and pillows. You know your own kids enough to determine if these things start to get out of control and while they’re at it, these activities can be a really good way to release an aggressive steam between siblings.
[14:38] Once you find a common area of conflict between your kids, it becomes the perfect opportunity to set up a type of rule and structure around it. For instance, if your kids are always fighting over their places at the dining table during mealtime, you can arrange a table arrangement for them to follow which is applicable right now and can be rearranged next month. This rule and structure will help decrease the amount of conflict in a particular area for your children.
[17:33] The next tip to address the conflict among your kids is to avoid falling into the trap of being judge and jury. If you haven’t been privy to the conflict, you’d try to hear both sides as they make their cases then decide who’s right, who’s wrong, who loses, who gets something and so on. You want to avoid being in that situation 100% because it just fosters more and more sibling conflict. What you need to do is help coach your children through expressing when they have a problem until eventually they make amends.
[20:00] I will let my two youngest kids, Maisie and Reed, explain to you what a “check-in” means in our house. Basically, this is the term we have for taking responsibility when we aim to create an opportunity for the kids to express themselves and be heard. They will explain what you should do during a check-in and if you should say “I’m sorry” every time. Spoiler alert: We’ll do a bit of a roleplay here wherein my kids will act out an example of what a check-in might sound like in our household.
[23:32] Now, I want to talk about how we can help with sibling bonding. What you’re trying to do is find ways to endear kids to one another by being this in-between person that helps siblings foster feelings of love toward one another. You can find a lot of opportunities to share your comments and observations to your kids that are really positive for them and their siblings. The key is to deliver your inputs in private, as if you’re sharing a little secret with your child. Your aim is to aid in forming endearing feelings between or among your children and their siblings.
[26:17] Now I want to share this lesson from foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld: you need to encourage the natural hierarchy that exists within families. This natural hierarchy consists of you, parents, at the top, followed by the siblings, in which the birth order will be followed. This natural order is to be acknowledged and even celebrated. In our own family for instance, the oldest child enjoys more privileges yet at the same time has more responsibilities than the rest since he is older in age. You can advise the younger kids that when they get to this certain age, they will get to do those or have this or that thing as well. Through this natural hierarchy, you can also encourage your older child to be natural leaders and teach their younger siblings in the process.
QUOTES FROM SUPPORTING SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS
“A lot of parents sometimes think, ‘Oh man, I just let my kids sort it out for themselves.’ That would be wonderful if we were dealing with fully evolved, mature human beings. We're not.”
“Often, behavior is communication. A lot of times, it is not about fairness, it's about addressing the fact that your child just maybe needs more. It's not about keeping things even or fair. It's about the fact that I'm trying to meet your needs. ”
“There are positive ways of using the hierarchy that exists in your family in a way that can really promote cohesiveness as opposed to constantly fighting about fairness and keeping things even if you want to actually take advantage of what is naturally given to you.”
EPISODES TO FURTHER THE DISCUSSION:
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