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Teaching Brothers and Sisters to Be Kind to Each Other
Love and kindness is something that often needs to be taught. This is as true in families among siblings as it is anywhere else. Parents must take the lead in helping each of their children to learn how to be nice to a brother or sister.
The first rule is not to participate in putting down one of your children when one of the other children is doing so. It is very difficult to be outnumbered. To develop trust and love with each of your children you must be each
Another rule is to not tease your child and prevent your children from teasing each other. Teasing is hostility in a smiling disguise. It is wrong and no one enjoys being teased. If you, as a parent, find you have a penchant for teasing it is likely that your parents teased you. These kinds of things run in families, but it is the kind of family tradition that needs to be discontinued.
Also do not talk negatively about one of your children in front of another of your children. This also destroys trust because any negativity you say will probably be repeated frequently to the other child by his or her sibling. The old adage about gossip is true, even within families. Anyone who will gossip with you about others is probably gossiping about you to others. Be sure you only say positive things about each of your children to everyone.
Applaud hugs and kisses between your children. You should be very generous in giving out the hugs and kisses, and encourage hugging and kissing between siblings, too. Let your children know that it makes you happy to see them being affectionate to each other.
With toddlers there is a temptation to forbid them from touching a new baby brother or sister at all. It is better to take a toddler's hand and guide it in gentle pats and touches. Older children who have never been around babies may also need some instruction on how to be gentle. Be certain that your children understand that the only touches that are permitted are kind and loving touches. It is advisable that children under the age of five should not be left alone together without supervision for any period of time. An older child can easily harm a younger one.
Practice family togetherness. Work together, play together, and get everyone involved. If one child is in a school program or a sport, bring all the family to watch and cheer. Some families also practice setting aside one night a week as a family night. They discourage other commitments on that one night and engage in games, conversation or other enjoyable activities with each other for an hour or two.
Parents must take the lead in teaching brothers and sisters in their family to show love and kindness to each other. The rewards of a good, loving start are sibling friendships that can last through their adult years. Parents are the best models of showing family love to all in the family.
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