Are you traveling for the holiday season? Thankfully the Wildenberg family is staying put.
Well…wait…that’s not totally true. Half of us will be home. The other half not.
Our son and his bride will be on their honeymoon in Jamaica, our third child will be in Taiwan, and our youngest daughter will be in Thailand.
Our oldest will help Tom and me hold down the fort.
Typically when we go on a vacation, someone in the Wildenberg crew needs medical attention.
Minnesota, Colorado, Virginia, Utah, California are all states where at least one Wildenberg child has made a trip to the ER. It isn’t an official family vacation until we take at least one trip to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.
I prefer to avoid the ER.
There is another -er that is good to avoid. The suffix, er. The er that comes at the end of a verb:
When we compare our kiddos to one-another we can do some damage. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
It’s true. Comparison can turn admiration into envy and jealousy.
Sibling rivalry is as old as… well… time. It occurred in the very first family with Adam and Eve’s boys, Cain and Able.
Our kids will not get along perfectly, but we can squelch sibling rivalry by doing these 7 things:
1. Avoid the -ers. Don’t compare your kids or put them into a competitive situation where one is the winner and one the loser. Save the competition type events for peer interactions.
2. Train your kids to speak and act with kindness to one-another. This is the simplest and best way to encourage a good relationship.
3. Appreciate and value each person’s strengths.
4. Exert effort in family and sibling play time. We make a huge effort to organize play dates for our kids with other children, why not with their siblings?
5. Have your kids work together. Shared effort and maybe even shared feelings (good or bad) about a chore will draw kids together.
6. Create some family traditions so your kids will have some similar memories.
7. Build empathy into the relationship. “I remember when you were Jacob’s age and you got into my stuff just like your little brother is getting into yours.” Kids love stories about when they were younger and a little bit of a rascal!
We can have great influence on our kids’ relationship. If we avoid having a “favorite” and make efforts to build up each child so they feel secure, they will be less likely to be resentful of their sibling and a loving relationship is more likely to grow. Hurtful messages or unwise words may not send a child to the Emergency Room but they can create a big wound. How we speak to our kids and about our kids has a great impact on their heart and psyche.
My children will always be siblings but I want them to be lifetime friends as well. I can can do my part to encourage that relationship.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Click here for a related post about what parents do that actually increases or breeds sibling rivalry.