Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bridging the gap

Siblings on the Playground

Bridging the gap between a teenager and his younger sibling can be a daunting task. Little tikes can be annoying to their older siblings. Most of which is attention seeking.
The battle between siblings is usually stressful on parents who have a desire for peace in their home. Instead, they hear shouts, screams and pandemonium throughout the house. At the end of it all, it’s usually the older sibling who bears the brunt of the blame, which can drive a wedge between parent and child.

Spending time with both siblings can help your children relate to each other.  During your time together, be respectful and encouraging to the older sibling. Recognize an accomplishment for a task he completed (homework, etc). Don’t chastise or belittle him/her in front of his little bother or sister. Use this time together as a teaching tool as you enjoy your children.  Once you empower the older sibling and gently explain your expectations of him as an older sibling change will occur. It’s also a great idea to spend time with each child individually. Children love positive attention from their parents and need your time. Be sure to schedule alone time with each child (a few minutes a day, if possible).

Teach your younger child to respect his older sibling’s belongings by example. For instance, don’t just grab the remote from a family member…ask. Don’t barge into your child’s room to get a pen or piece of paper…ask. Once respect is visible in the home, your little one will follow.  Schedule and/or encourage together time for the siblings.  Activities can be at home (board games, video games, imaginative play, backyard fun, etc) or in your neighborhood. Find activities in your neighborhood where both age groups can enjoy together. Some fun activities like playing in the park, hanging out at the pool, ice skating, bike riding, miniature golf, to name a few, can help your children relate to each other.

Siblings will disagree from time to time and it’s our job to help them respect each other and be agreeable most of the time. Enjoy your journey with them because they’ll be all grown up in the blink of an eye!

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