Surely what many remember from their childhood is the time shared with their brothers or sisters. It doesn’t matter if they were older or younger than us, with them we lived magical moments that we will forever etch in our memory. Unique and unrepeatable moments that made us immensely happy and in which we learned from each other. The endless laughter at bedtime, the tickle wars on the sofa, the summers enjoying the beach or the mountains or the afternoons in the park playing ball, riding a bike or learning to balance. According to the French writer Jean Baptiste Legouvé: “A brother is a great friend that nature gives you.” A lifelong gift that helps you to be much happier and to build a path accompanied.
Most siblings do not need words to understand each other because a unique language is created between them based on affection and unconditional love. A relationship full of complicity that builds a unique bond that lasts throughout life. Anyone who has had a brother or sister has surely shared endless confidences and emotions with him or her and has not felt alone in the face of the challenges that life has given them.
Children who have siblings show an easier time learning such important values as cooperation, generosity or solidarity. Through play and coexistence they develop key social skills to be able to solve conflicts, deal with frustration and learn to make decisions. In most cases, they are more tolerant, empathetic and grateful boys and girls. Better able to deal with conflicting situations and work in a team.
Families that have more than one child should encourage proper relationships to be established between them. Sometimes, it is not an easy task to achieve, because a lot of rivalry or jealousy can appear. Achieving a good bond based on respect and affection is essential so that they can live together showing empathy. In contrast, when parents treat their children differently by varying amounts of attention, nurturing, and protection, sibling relationships are likely to be more adversarial and less enjoyable because children often feel these differences are unfair.
Here are five strategies that will help families improve the relationship between their children:
- Do not make comparisons. Nobody likes to feel that the other always does things better than him or behaves in a more correct way. Each child, in the eyes of his parents, should feel unique and special, knowing that they accept him as he is and not drown him in expectations. If the siblings feel that one is always the favorite of their parents, it will be very difficult to establish a good relationship between them because jealousy, resentment and competitiveness will surface.
- Dedicate the same time to all children equally. Each of them should be able to have exclusive time with her parents. Some relaxed moments where they can share leisure without distractions, talk without interruptions and express everything they like or worry about. These quality times will go a long way in creating a secure attachment.
- Accept that quarrels and fights between siblings are normal and healthy for development. In the face of these conflicts, parents should not intervene by encouraging siblings to seek solutions to their problems independently. If they do, they will feel that the parents are taking a position in favor of one or the other and that will complicate the situation more.
- Make all the siblings participate in everything that happens in the family, making them feel that they occupy a very important place in it, taking into account their opinions, needs or desires regardless of their age. Establishing rules by consensus and generating a climate of collaboration at home will greatly facilitate the coexistence of family members.
- Teach to accept differences. That will allow children to be more tolerant and respectful of others. It is relevant that each member of the family unit can show themselves as they are, with their strengths and weaknesses, without feeling questioned or labeled by others.
Good sibling relationships are a learning process in which parents play a crucial role. For this reason it is so valuable that they carefully observe the relationships that are established between them, promoting mutual respect, assertiveness and communication. As the writer Marion C. Garretty said: “A brother is a little piece of childhood that we never lose.”
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