Sibling rivalries are normal. However, these tiny skirmishes can develop into something much larger if you are not careful. Although some parents think they just need to let their kids fight it out, this is never the best approach. A sibling bully can be more difficult to deal with than a bully at school. Here are some parental steps you can take to create a more harmonious relationship in the household.
Hold the Bully Accountable
Some kids bully their siblings without even realizing it. It is essential for you to sit down with the bully and let them know how badly they are hurting their brother or sister. Not only is the sibling causing physical pain, but there is a lot of emotional distress associated with the mistreatment, too. Part of this should involve determining an appropriate punishment for the child. You may want to ground your child or take away a certain privilege. No matter the punishment, an apology is always necessary. At the end of the day, you want your kid to understand the bullying is not allowed in this household.
End the Aggressive Behavior Right Away
As soon as you see one sibling calling the other one names or hitting them, you should intervene immediately. You need to teach your kids how to respect one another even when they don’t agree on something. Then, use it as a teaching opportunity to show how they should resolve differences appropriately. By involving yourself early, your children begin building relationship skills in a more pleasing environment. They’ll, in turn, use these skills at school or in their future friendships to have healthier relationships later in life.
Model and Teach Respect
The best way to teach your kids how to treat one another is to provide them with an excellent role model. If you treat people with respect they will also. Kids model their behavior off of their parents. So, fostering healthy relationships with people in your life is essential. By showing care and love for your spouse even after arguments will show them how to treat other parents, store workers and waiters with dignity. It’s always a good idea to adopt a family philosophy of supporting and helping one another even when times are tough.
It’s normal for your kids to be jealous of your affection to their spouse every once in a while. But, you always want your kids to feel equal. You want all your kids to receive acceptable, love and recognition. This can most easily be accomplished by not labelling your children. Many parents fall into the trap of labeling their kids “the smart one” or “the athletic one.” It can seem harmless, but your kids internalize all of that. Your kids are special in different ways, and you want to point it out regularly. When children do not receive such recognition, they feel the need to lash out and make others feel worse.
Teach Them Problem-Solving Skills
Kids do not usually know how to solve problems without anyone teaching them. Initially, they’ll resort to unhealthy problem-solving methods. It’s up to you to teach them a better way. Give your children real-life problems to solve and help them come up with the best solutions. You should be there to supervise them initially, but over time, there should be less stress between them when problems arise.
One of the best ways to ward off bullying is to teach your kids empathy. This is the ability to understand how others are feeling. When children are empathetic toward others, they see how their words and actions impact their siblings and friends. As their emotional intelligence increases, they’ll be far less likely to bully. To be a healthy adult, kids need to learn empathy early on. It is an essential tool in becoming a
Anyone can become a bully. It is your responsibility as a parent to let your kids know that behavior is not acceptable as soon as you see it. Continue monitoring your kids’ behavior to ensure they do not adopt unkind behaviors over time. Finally, remember that your kids bullying their siblings does not mean you’re a bad parent. All kids need to learn the difference between good and bad. So, until they learn, it’s up to the parent to be fair, consistent and firm.