The one thing I heard a lot about at a preschool child’s birthday party recently is a common complaint of many parents around the world – why do my kids fight; that too over trivial matters. It drives us up the wall, I agree, but there are many things we should begin to do early in our children’s life to promote sibling harmony. It is not easy, but definitely brings about big changes between squabbling siblings.
The first thing is something you need to take care of as parents. Never, ever, even if you are severely tempted to – compare your children. When you compare your children, you are actually telling one that the other is better; however small the point of comparison is. Think of how you would feel is your husband compared your cooking skills with a friend’s wife’s skills. You won’t be smiling sweetly at him, would you? Comparing children academically or in any other way only damages sibling dynamics. If you have to tell your preschool child something, give honest and specific feedback about the problem you are having. Get your children to strive for achievements through
motivation, not by comparing achievements.
The one thing that helped my children when they were in the squabbling age is to encourage them to share a room. When children share living space, they may have little conflicts like dividing space with tape or argue about things like turning off the light – but it will also these common conflicts that will teach them cooperation and compromise. Although I had to scream at the kids to sleep on time, what I saw was how they would have the best bonding nighttime talks when trying to fall asleep. Seeing them sleep in one another’s arms – priceless!
Introduce the concept of meaningful apologies. When you force an angry child to apologize, that is what you will get – an angry and insincere apology. Instead, let your children cool down. Talk to the one who needs to apologize. He or she should be able to understand why he or she should apologize. Talk to them about making amends for hurting a person’s feelings. Then the apology is more meaningful and understood.