Sibling Kindness

I have been known to say to other parents, “my kids love each other 50% of the time and fight 50% of the time”. Well, now that they are 8 and 10, it feels more like 20% love and 80% fight.  I ask myself, is this normal? So, I ask around. Some parents say yes and others say no. So, then I wonder, what am I doing wrong as a parent. It’s not so much that they physically fight, its much more sophisticated. They know how to “bug each other,” “push each other’s buttons,” and how to get the other to react. Listening to them constantly argue, say unkind words, nit pick, mimic and even parrot me when I’m disciplining one of them, is enough to make me go nuts!

As a parent, I begin to wonder what it is that I or my husband may be doing to foster so much arguing, competition and fighting. I know I’m not alone.  I see other kids behaving the same way with their siblings. I fought with mine, my husband fought with his. But, does it have to be this way? Can we teach our children how to be kind to each other?  My kids are perfectly kind to their friends, peers, teachers, etc, but not to each other. I once read somewhere, that kids can get away with not being kind to their siblings, because unlike friends, siblings are always there. So one can be as mean as they want and the sibling will stick around, but if you were to treat your friends unkindly, they could and would find other friends. So back to my question, Can we in fact teach our kids to be kind to their sibling(s)? I would like to believe the answer is, Yes!

August 2012 831

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