- Family and Parenting
How to Handle Spoiled Siblings
If you ever happened to take care of siblings, your own or others', you might have had a lot of fun. However, you might as well have faced conflicts, misbehavior, and other painful issues.
Knowing how to handle spoiled siblings can change your worldview and attitude towards children in general. It may also influence your self-esteem, make you a riper personality. But everything comes with practice.
I was an au-pair girl once, taking care of two boys in a French family for about a year. This was a very fruitful and educational experience. My duties were taking them to school and bringing them back, accompanying them in their daily routine, doing home tasks with them and taking them around the city.
I am really grateful to their parents for their being helpful in this uneasy task. Here is some advice I would like to give to those who are going to work with siblings or who simply need it.
You Are Authority
Are you confident enough? Unconsciously, children want security. That's what adults are for, aren't they? They will try to test you and manipulate you. Stay calm. Give directions. It's all about you managing them, not them managing you. Be firm, but be fair.
When In Fight, Separate
When two brothers are together, they may start fighting. Rivalry is quite natural. It's inscribed in the thousands of years of the human history. Sisters and brothers may fight, too. If a fight takes place, separate the kids. Place them each in a different room. And make them occupied with some activity that each of them likes most.
Keep Them Busy
Conflicts often take place when children are hyperactive. If this is the case, keep them busy. Play games. Tell stories. Sing songs. Read books. Do sports. You will also do them a great favour developing their skills in their favorite activities.
Say "No" More Than Once
Educating kids is all about setting limits. They will want to cross borders more than once. But they should be aware of limits. They may make a face if you say "no", but they must know about the rules. They may want an explanation. Give it to them, find good reasons. Say it's for their own security or benefit. If it doesn't work and they argue, remember - you are the authority. It's quite enough that you decided so.
Show Your Character
When they do not get what they want, spoiled siblings often show their character. They would scream, lie on the ground, run away from you, maybe even call you names. Show your character back! You have a weak character? Be an actor with a strong one! It is good if you can train in advance in front of a mirror trying different intonations and mimics. It's important that they know who the boss is.
There is nothing more convincing for children than emotions. If you dislike something about their behavior, say it with anger. Children are very reactive to emotions. A phrase like "How naughty of you! Can you explain why you did that?" is much more powerful when pronounced with indignation rather than in a calm way. Even saying "I'm so upset you did it" with a sad face is very effective. On the other hand, you can always praise something they did right, or appreciate their ability to share, politeness, kindness, respectfulness. Positive emotions are very stimulating. "Now, that was nice of you! Great job!" is very inspiring for a child and they would want to do it again. Remember: children are not as aware of themselves as adults. The advantage of being an adult is that you can use your emotions consciously. When properly applied, they help children become more aware of what is right and what is wrong.
Kids are like fertile soil. They take everything you put into them and make it grow. If you spoil them, they get spoiled. If you educate them correctly, they become self-realized, socially fit personalities. Give it time though. Your efforts will certainly pay back.
Read about educating problem children and sibling rivalry, visit forums, watch education-oriented films. Talk to other parents about their kids' issues. Share your experiences. This will do you a world of good. I wish all parents and educators good luck in this uneasy yet noble task - handling spoiled siblings.
How About You?
Did you have siblings rivalry with your brothers or sisters?
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