It is only human that every first-born experiences new feelings on the arrival of a sibling or a new born baby in their home. They feel a range of emotions and feelings like being overwhelmed, jealousy, confusion, frustration, anxiety, insecurity and so on. Parents must prepare ahead and make all necessary efforts to create positive sibling relationships right from the beginning. This goes a long way in managing or even driving away feelings of sibling rivalry from the minds of the little ones. There are several ways or strategies that parents can adopt in order to build such healthy sibling relationships.
Encourage siblings to bond:
Siblings must be allowed to bond right from the birth of the second child. Speak to the elder sibling and help them bond with the little baby through play time, story time and so on. Sibling bonds are formed at this stage although it keeps changing as they grow up. Parents must encourage positive relationship building between the siblings by intervening whenever necessary to help them form a strong bond. During daily chores, meal times and play time, parents can actively spend time with the siblings and encourage them to bond organically.
Focus on giving enough care and time to elder sibling:
Often parents feel overwhelmed on the arrival of their second child with increased responsibilities and sleep deprivation. During this time, the elder sibling feels left out or not cared for as parents majorly focus on the newborn sibling. The elder sibling starts to have feelings of jealousy, anxiety, possessiveness and so on. Giving the elder sibling enough one-on-one attention, care and showering them with love will fill the elder sibling’s love tank. This helps the elder sibling in forming a wonderful bond with their younger sibling and with the parents too.
Any kind of comparison between siblings will lead to sibling rivalry. Parents and family members must consciously avoid saying things that make a child feel inferior or less cared for compared to the other sibling. Parents who always compare siblings indirectly push their children to dislike each other or have negative feelings towards each other as they grow up. Sibling rivalry indirectly creeps into their lives because of the way parents or immediate family members treat or talk to the siblings. Educate yourself as a parent and educate your family members in order to create positive sibling relationships that last a lifetime.
Encourage taking turns:
As siblings grow up, they will argue or quarrel for the same toys or books and throw tantrums. If parents are partial towards the younger sibling, there is a high chance for sibling rivalry to creep in. Parents must actively work towards not letting sibling rivalry get worse. Sibling rivalry often starts when both siblings want the same thing and quarrel with each other. This is when parents must intervene and create a healthy playing environment where taking turns is encouraged during play time. Parents must keep in mind that this is done gently and politely making it easy for siblings to learn how to share and care for each other.
Model behaviors and appropriate communication:
It is a known fact that children mimic whatever they see and observe around them. This means parents must take full responsibility for their own actions and words so that their children learn the right thing to do. Modeling appropriate behaviors and actions while dealing with siblings helps children mimic the same during their interactions. Communication is key to building positive sibling relationships.
Expressing equal love and compassion:
Parents always must see that siblings are shown the same love, kindness, and compassion without any partiality. Siblings can easily sense when they are not loved like the other siblings. They immediately get affected by such behavior and in the long run, this leads to sibling rivalry. It’s important for parents to treat their children in the same way whether it’s through their words or actions. Even if on an occasion, parents fail to do so, they must try to speak to the child and say sorry and convey to them how much they love and care for them.
Having strong sibling relationships is key to strong family relationships when they grow up to be adults. Positive and happy family ties help family members deal with everything with ease because they have the social, emotional and mental support. In the absence of which, people tend to suffer from loneliness, anxiety, depression and so on. This shows the great role of building positive sibling relationships right from their childhood. Peace between siblings means peace in the family that binds them tight and prepares them to face the big world together. Siblings with strong bonds are there for each other to support and care for even in the absence of their parents.