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How to Raise Kids Who Actually Like Each Other

Written by Dawn Alsept

Sibling spats are no joke. If you have ever heard two siblings going at it, it is not unlike a feral cat fight with a dash of rabid rage thrown in. It would seem that those we love the most, or in some cases, those who live under the same roof as we do, can illicit the strongest of reactions, sometimes for the smallest infraction.

We would like to think that our homes are our refuge and that though the world may swirl with a vast whirlpool of unkindness about us, our homes should exude love and contentment. When in the midst of the battle, you are the parent who is struggling to maintain a white flag zone, how do you raise kids who actually like each other?

Demand compassion

From a young age, teach your child to think outside of themselves.  This exercise usually happens when one of our children has infringed upon a sibling and as part of the process we chat about how it would feel to be the sibling who was wronged.  For example, my 6-year-old throws a toy at his 4-year-old sibling during a moment of extreme frustration (thankfully he has bad aim) and we have to have some words about his actions.

During this exchange, I also give him a scenario where something similar either has happened to him and he was wronged or I give a scenario where he could imagine something similar happening and we talk about how he would feel in his brother’s shoes.  This exercise forces your child to realize that their sibling has feelings too and they would not like what happened if they were on the receiving end.

Don’t allow the hurtful words

Teens are notorious for their comebacks, their sharp tongues, and their wit, often at the expense of others. While we can easily chalk some of the things that come out of the mouths of our children as simple bantering, keep tabs on it and put the words in check when they become hurtful. This means that sometimes you have to speak up when the kids don’t even know that you have heard an exchange.

Watch the tone

As parents, we know all too well that you can say one thing and mean something totally different which becomes apparent with tone. When your children start to always become snarky and curt with one and other, check in with them to see if they realize how they are coming across.  If we allow the razor toned words to cut the peace out of our homes, we perpetuate the negative.

Make them see the best

It is not uncommon in our home to spend a little time pointing out the positive attributes of family members. This is especially true if there has been a run of unkind statements going on.  An example was a recent family meal where two children had been going at it off and on the entire day.  These two were then told that they must tell the whole family 3 things that they liked about their sibling, 3 things that their sibling was good at, and 3 things they thought their sibling could teach them. This exercise has been known to finish off with humor and often a bit of satire to boot.

Encouraged affection

For the younger ones, it has not been uncommon in our home to require a make up hug and request for forgiveness when there has been some misgiving.  However, the most comical example would have to be when there have been ongoing difficulties and the resulting punishment is for the siblings to sit next to one and other holding hands.  There have even been occasions where a chore has to be completed while said handholding is still in effect, this happens to be one of the funniest memories my now older teens have of a spat they had as children.

How to Raise Kids Who Actually Like Each Other | amotherworld

Our children are individuals who learn by example, and ours is the most important they see.  We have to set the tone for what is acceptable in our homes, in order to create the relationships that we want to see blossom.

 

Dawn is the homeschooling mom to 6 of God’s blessings and the wife to a husband she counts as her best friend.  She and her husband enjoy life on a small family farm where they strive to grow their own food, raise their own livestock, and homestead to the best of a modern day family’s ability. Though she loved running a homesteading blog for years,  at www.incidentalfarmgirl.com, she discovered a new passion with the birth of her 6th child who surprised the family with a Down Syndrome diagnosis at birth.  Now she spends her free time writing, advocating, and sharing stories to bring awareness to Down Syndrome at www.cedarsstory.com.

How to Raise a Child in Today’s World Without Losing Your Mind

It seems like every time you turn around, there’s something new to worry about regarding your children’s safety: Canned vegetables and BPA. Swimming and dry drowning. And now… sunscreen spray and cancer. It’s enough to make any parent lose their mind.

While hiding away and doing our best to shield our children from anything that could harm them may be a tempting solution at times, we all know that eventually we’re going to have to let our kids out into the world, and eventually we are going to expose them to some things that aren’t the best for them. When this time comes, don’t drive yourself crazy with worry. Use these four steps for raising your child in today’s world without losing your mind.

How to Raise a Child in Today’s World Without Losing Your Mind

How to Raise a Child in Today's World Without Losing Your Mind

1. Accept the Inevitable

First of all, realize that every kid is going to be exposed to something dangerous at some point. It doesn’t matter how careful you are, either. Your kids are still going to get bumps and bruises, they are going to get their feelings hurt, and they are probably going to eat dirt at some point. Trying to protect them from everything would be futile.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to protect your children from things that are clearly dangerous, but that you don’t need to obsessively worry over everything. As the saying goes, “A little dirt don’t hurt.”

2. Get Informed

All too often, our fears and reactions are based on how dangerous we feel a situation is, not how dangerous the situation actually is. Combat this fear by getting the facts. If you are worried about your child attending her first sleepover, meet the other girl’s family and ask questions about sleeping arrangements. If you are worried about the meals your son will eat at school, find out more about what the school serves and how it is prepared.

3. Make Healthier Choices

Once you have the facts about a situation, you are better able to make an educated decision instead of an emotional reaction. Whether you choose to cloth diaper or disposable diaper, to serve organic food or hit the drive thru, or to formula feed or breastfeed, you’ll feel much more confident and secure with your decision, since it will be based on facts.

4. Seek Balance

Lastly, whatever choices you make for your family, be sure that you take a balanced approach. There is no reason to go completely overboard and ruin all the fun because of your fears. Instead, determine what your goals and priorities are (whether you want your kids to eat healthier or stay safer when they are out of your sight, for example), and then determine what a reasonable course of action would be. What works for your family isn’t necessarily the same as what works for others, and you have to make the choices that are best for you.

What things about raising a child in today’s world worry you and threaten to make you lose your mind?

 

BrittanyWife and mom to two very energetic little boys, when Brittany isn’t busy chasing after her kidlets, you can find her reading, writing or sneaking chocolate so she doesn’t have to share–probably all of the above!