Parents Need to be Involved
Many experts agree that parents help determine the success of sibling relationships. Although it’s important to teach children to problem-solve and work out their issues together, this has to be balanced with monitoring disputes to ensure your children treat each other with respect. You may not be able to make your children have close relationships, but you can ensure they will be safe and respected within the family.
Treating everyone with basic respect is crucial for healthy family relationships. Lay the groundwork early. Tell your children they’re entitled to their feelings. For example, your child may feel he despises his sister. Even so, he’s not permitted to treat her disrespectfully, use nasty language or physical harm to express his feelings.
Home should be a safe place, and it’s up to parents to create that safety. You wouldn’t let an outsider come into your home and hurt your child. It’s equally important to make sure family members don’t hurt each other. If it happens, find a way to stop it.
Keep the rules simple and basic. For example:
- In our family we will treat each other with respect.
- In our family we will not hurt each other – with words or actions. We all need to feel safe.
Stick to your rules and enforce consequences when infractions occur. The rules apply equally to the 2-year-old taking all the baby’s toys and throwing them at her because Mom just said she was so cute -- or to the teenager taking a punch at his brother for calling him a name.