Discover practical, heartfelt strategies to strengthen sibling relationships and foster lifelong bonds in your family. Your guide to a harmonious household.
Best Buddies: Creating a Super Tight Bond Between Your Children
Every parent desires to have children who enjoy each other’s company. Nonetheless, creating strong bonds between siblings can prove to be a daunting task for parents. This was also one of my primary objectives right from the birth of my second child, just two years after my first. During my childhood, I had a close relationship with my eight siblings, and even presently, many of them remain my closest confidants.
As my teenagers are approaching adulthood, I feel like I have achieved my goal of fostering a close relationship between them. They communicate with each other through text messages even when they are apart for a short time and they share a common group of friends. The fact that my youngest child intends to attend the same college as her older brother further confirms their strong bond, bringing me immense joy.
Give Them Plenty of Togetherness
To cultivate a strong bond of friendship, it is necessary to invest ample time in nurturing it. As a parent, I have always encouraged my children to invite their friends over, but I also made sure that my children have enough opportunities to spend time with just each other. This exclusive time plays a crucial role as it enables them to create shared experiences and inside jokes, which will bind them together for a lifetime. Be it watching their favorite TV show or lounging by the hotel pool during our yearly family trip, my children have had numerous chances to foster their relationship.
Give Them an Equal Amount of Chores
As a parent, I am always willing to welcome my children’s friends. However, I have noticed that many of them express their dislike towards their siblings due to the distribution of household chores. They feel that they are burdened with more work than their siblings, which causes resentment and strains their relationship. It is crucial for parents to ensure that they distribute household duties fairly and equally among their children to maintain a healthy relationship between them.
During my childhood, my brothers were assigned tasks that were considered “masculine,” such as taking out the trash or mowing the lawn, while my sisters and I were responsible for chores that were considered “feminine,” such as cooking and vacuuming. I was envious of my brothers for having the opportunity to mow the lawn. However, as we progress towards gender equality, my children now participate in all chores, regardless of gender. Although my children have preferences for certain chores, they both share the responsibility of taking out the garbage, cooking, and cleaning. When there is a chore that they both dislike, such as vacuuming, they split the task equally. I allow them to choose who does what as long as they are both contributing equally.
Have Them Do Activities Together to Build Positive Sibling Relationships
As a parent of two children who are only two years apart in age, I recognized the potential for them to participate in extracurricular activities together at school. Rather than leaving it to chance, however, I actively encouraged them to do so. While some activities, like my daughter joining the Scholastic Bowl team, came about naturally after she saw how much her older brother enjoyed it, others required a little more urging. For instance, persuading my daughter to join her brother’s high school cross country team was a challenge, but she eventually agreed to try it and has since remained on the team even after her brother graduated and left for college.
Both of them have been employed as umpires for baseball and softball games during the summer, which further strengthens their connection. Every shared experience enhances their bond by creating more mutual memories and providing them with a better understanding of one another.If your children have vastly different interests in extracurricular activities or a significant age difference that prevents them from joining the same teams, there are alternative activities they can participate in together. During the summer, I encourage my children to take a walk together on pleasant days. Initially, they may complain because they would prefer to do something else, but they usually end up walking much farther than I had instructed them to and have a good time discussing the things they encountered or did.
Let Them Troubleshoot as a Team
When everything is fine, it’s not difficult to have a good relationship with others. However, during difficult times, it’s important to have confidence in those around you and know they will be there for you. That’s why I believe it’s beneficial for my kids to be in scenarios where they must depend on one another and collaborate to find a solution, such as overcoming a technical problem. Learn about distinguishing between sibling rivalry and sibling bullying in our article.
To improve the relationships between siblings, one of my go-to activities involves presenting them with a gift hidden inside a puzzle box and observing the way they work together to solve it. As an example, my spouse and I decided to tone down the gift-giving during Christmas two years ago and instead, planned a trip to Florida. We created a puzzle box and inscribed a message which read “Get ready for Florida. Pack your bags.” We then cut the message into individual words and placed them inside the puzzle box, which we wrapped up and placed under the Christmas tree for our children to decipher. This activity helped foster teamwork and cooperation between our kids as they worked together to solve the puzzle and uncover the surprise gift.
As soon as our children uncovered the package, we informed them that they needed to cooperate to unlock the puzzle box and decipher the message within. Afterwards, we observed as they took turns and proposed solutions for accessing the box. The children were thrilled by the challenge, while we relished witnessing their collaborative and analytical abilities at work.
Never Compare Them to Each Other
A method to ruin the bond between siblings is by making comparisons. Such comparisons, even if meant well, can quickly harm their relationship. Our article on sibling rivalry can provide more information on this matter. It is crucial to remember that although your children share a family name and genes, they are individuals with distinct abilities and flaws. Therefore, treating them as equals is essential.
It’s important to be cautious about what you say to your children and the way you say it. It’s best to avoid negative comparisons between your children, such as expressing disappointment that one child’s room isn’t as tidy as their sibling’s or wishing that another child’s grades were as good as their sibling’s. Making such statements can create resentment between siblings instead of bringing them closer together. Even if you don’t explicitly make comparisons, your tone of voice can still convey these negative sentiments, so it’s crucial to be mindful of how you’re speaking to your children. Your words and tone have a significant impact on how your children perceive themselves, you, and their siblings.