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Raising Children That Get Along

Updated on February 25, 2012

You’ve seen some families where the kids seem to get along beautifully and they are best friends while another family has children that fight all the time and appear to hate each other.

What is the difference?

It starts the day the new stranger comes home.


Don’t turn kids into servants.

The first mistake parents make, is having the older child fetch and carry for the new baby. Some moms will have the older sister get a diaper, wipes or toy for her new brother. She thinks this will make the older child feel important and helpful when in fact it makes them feel like a slave.

Before this baby came along she could play and watch her shows and now she has to run errands for this screaming person that takes all of mom’s time.

We’ll call these children Susie and Johnny.

I realize it helps a new mom who is overwhelmed with having two or more children to take care of but it’s a bad habit to start. You didn’t have a little helper when Susie was born.

Susie may act out by having tantrums

Crying gets mom’s attention when baby Johnny does it.

Susie may regress

That wonderful little girl that was toilet trained, may now wet her pants, forget her manners or act infantile. Maybe if she acts like a baby mom and dad will pay more attention to her. You may find her trying to climb into the crib, put a diaper on or even wear the new baby’s clothes.

Ignoring bad behavior and complimenting her when she's good is the best thing.

Treat them like twins

When you are feeding the baby, read a book to the older child. If you hold Johnny also make room on your lap or at least put your arm around Susie making her feel included. If you can’t hold a book, tell a tale from memory or sing a song and let Susie join in.

If you buy Johnny something new at the store, don’t forget Susie. I know this can get expensive but it doesn’t have to be a pricey item every time.

If your children are the same gender, make sure the younger one isn’t always wearing older brother’s outgrown garments.

Try to make sure your time is equally divided between them.

Never compare

Children are all so different and excel in different ways. One may be great in math and the other music. One might be a good athlete while the other has no interest in sports.

Telling one child they should be more like their brother is a very bad idea.

Make sure you are equal in your bragging about your children’s accomplishments. If one gets a trophy put a framed award next to it for his sibling(s).

If an award does not exist, make one. Use your computer or go to a hobby shop and find a generic sheet. You can even use construction paper and crayons, your child won’t care, it’s the thought that counts. Put Johnnie’s name and write something great he did, i.e., “Feeds the dog without being told,” “Helps dad with the yard work,” or “Brightest smile.”

Sometimes we have a child whose talents seem to be nonexistent; they are just hidden. We as parents have to find out what they are good at. Maybe he’s a budding artist just waiting to take lessons. Everyone is good at something we just have to find out what it is.

If Susie felt Johnnie was taking the limelight while she was young she may go out of her way to compete for center stage. Johnnie will in turn try to get his parent’s attention anyway he can; if not with academics, sports or other achievements, then by acting out and getting into trouble.

In the eyes of a child, any attention is better than no attention at all.


Early development sets the stage for life

How we treat them early on makes all the difference in how they behave later in life and their attitude towards each other.

When children grow up


Don’t talk about one child behind the other sibling’s back. Gossip is bad in any situation but this will turn your kids into rivals.

Letting one know the other is having money, health or family issues is not a bad idea as long as it is done in a caring way.

Don’t abuse your kid’s confidentiality terms. In other words if one tells you something in private and asks you not to tell anyone else; stick to it.


Again, as your kids grow up and become adults they will have different career paths and won’t make the same amount of money. That is okay. We need police officers just as much as we need accountants. Don’t make them feel less important.


I know two sets of grandparents that dote on their granddaughters and ignore the boys. Their excuse is that the girls are easier, less rowdy and not rambunctious.

I never see them in public with their grandsons and if I didn’t know better I would think they only had granddaughters.

How do you think this makes the grandsons feel? How do you think the parents of these boys feel?

At every stage of life:

If you were in their shoes how would you feel? It’s not too hard, really, when we try to see a situation from the other person’s view.


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    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Marieryan, my sons are 3 years apart and are still best friends today. My daughter is quite a bit younger but they all get along great. It's wonderful that your girls get along. I love to see siblings that are good friends.

    • marieryan profile image

      Marie Ryan 

      5 years ago from Andalusia, Spain

      This was a very refreshing read, and you described everything very sensitively!

      I had my two daughters within 15 months of each other which meant the first-born was too small to be able to help in anyway. and was also too small to be aware of the change in the family situation ...and considered her baby sister more as a toy doll! (We had to be very careful with that!) .

      I agree with you that obliging an older sibling to help out with a new-born may cause resentment.

      My daughters have maintained a loving, caring relationship all their lives and I know I am very lucky.

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Carrie, sometimes we don't realize how our kids feel when asked to do these things.

      Auntie, big families have to all pitch in or nothing would get done. As long as everything is kept equal it all works out.

    • Auntie D profile image

      Auntie D 

      7 years ago from California

      As a family we all pitched in to help each other. Each one had chores. If help was need in a pinch one was asked, not ordered. There were ups and downs, spats, disagreements but if one was threatened in anyway by an outsider the kids grouped together to defend. My husband always said "Circle the wagons". You wrote a very good hub that I'm sure will help many new parents.

    • Carrie MJ profile image

      Carrie MJ 

      7 years ago from Missouri

      Great tips! It made me realize that I should try harder to treat my kids equally. I have been asking the older one to fetch diapers, etc., and now I see that it could start feelings of resentment. Thanks!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, Pras.

      SLJMiller, sometimes but there may be subtle things you did that you didn't realize.

      KoffeeKlatch Gals, it makes a big difference in how our children relate to one another. Thanks for reading.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      You have some excellent advice and tips. I think one of the ones that people seem to abuse is have the oldest watch the younger. I never did that - it had been done to me when I was growing up. My three girls are close and I like to think it's because I followed many of the suggestions you made today. Up and awesome.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yeah, I've done all things and my daughters still don't get along. It doesn't help that my youngest was born jealous of her sister. Seriously, she was only a few months old when her older sister cuddled up to me and she shot her and evil look. Sometimes its just in their personalities.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice hub and useful information. I love something related with kids, because I am a private teacher who always watch their development from day by day. Great tips and well done, Pamela. You always got my vote.Cheers...


    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Keeley, it's not easy being a parent and we are always learning. Hindsight is 20/20 and I hope I have helped new parents raise children that get along well.

    • Keeley Shea profile image

      Keeley Shea 

      7 years ago from Norwich, CT

      You make some really great points in this hub! It is wonderfully written!! I will use some of this great advice with my two boys who hardly ever get along. Now I see why!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, kashmir and fashion.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub.very interesting and useful.Well done

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great well written hub !

      Awesome and vote up !!!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Chatkath, raising children that get along will produce a more harmonious home making everyone's lives easier.

    • Chatkath profile image


      7 years ago from California

      I really enjoyed this Pamela, funny how unique each child is and how important to recognize each for their differences, instead of "the kids". It is so nice to actually like your siblings and grow up looking out for each other instead of petty fighting and jealousy. Great information and advice!

    • Pamela N Red profile imageAUTHOR

      Pamela N Red 

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks everyone for reading.

      Annaw, when I was young I didn't want to have children for this very reason. I am the oldest of 7 and mostly raised them. It robs a person of their childhood and it isn't fair.

      K. Burns, one thing that helps when you have two kids sharing a room is to put up a boundary turning the one room into two. A curtain hung from the ceiling or bookshelves can make a wall so they feel they have their own room and privacy. It's tough for a teenage to share with a much younger sibling. (Don't put furniture in the middle of the room if you have a climber. You don't want an accident.

      Daffy Duck, I still think it's a bad idea to ask the older child to bring you things for the baby. If they volunteer thank them but let them make the move...don't ask. In short order they can feel put upon.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      All great advice - the gossip behind one kid's back is a definite no-no. Thanks for sharing, you get a vote-up and useful from me.

    • kerlynb profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      I have to agree with you when you said "Never compare.Children are all so different and excel in different ways." It's quite important for parents, teachers, and even relatives to always sort of enhance the good side of children, compliment them when appropriate, and let them know that they are so much appreciated.

    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Great hub.... love the cartoons and videos

    • LADYGIRL profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm sorry my name is Ladygirl not Pamela, I was the one that left you the comment regarding the building blocks for your daughters.

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thanks Pamela, I raised my older two using many of the same techniques that you listed in your hub, and because we were an active duty Navy family, and transfers meant moving and being the new kid in school, I was particularly conscientious about stressing the importance of family bonds, especially between the two of them. I am proud of the fact that they are as close as they are, and am also happy to know that they will always have each other to turn to, even after their dad and I are gone; But this problem between my two daughters has been stumping me for a long time, so I will give your idea a try, will let you know how it all works out.

      Thanks again,


    • LADYGIRL profile image


      7 years ago

      My suggestions is to put them together in a small room. Have some building blocks and tell them to make any type of foundation, but it can not fall it has to stand still. If the blocks fall they will come apart, to build them up they have to stick them together and never separate. And tell them this is how a family should always be. Never, ever fall. STICK TOGETHER. And let them ask each other, "The reason why we should build a foundation?" Don't let them leave the room until they answer each other question.

    • Rob Winters profile image

      Rob Winters 

      7 years ago

      Very insightful and useful hub Pamela.Real practical advice that makes perfect intuitive sense. I've a new addition arriving in a few months and one little princess that will have to adjust so this is all pertinent stuff for me personally right now. Up & Useful & Interesting :-)

    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 

      7 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      What an interesting hub.

      Parents shouldn't force their kids to help with the baby, but what if they want to? A parent should ask the older child if they do want to help out. Sometimes a child likes to help with the baby. It can make them feel older, useful, and important.

      Comparing kids is a really bad idea. "Why can't you be more like......." I agree totally!

      Great hub! I loved it!

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      A beautifully written hub, with lots of great information. I am the mother of three, a son who is 17, and two daughters, ages 16 and 4. My son and daughter, who were born thirteen months apart, do sometimes bicker and argue, but not to excess, and when push comes to shove, they are each other's best friend. If my daughter gets her feelings hurt, breaks up with a boyfriend, doesn't place first at a competition, the first person she turns to, even before her dad or I, is her brother. If someone dares to bully, pick on, or talk badly about either of them, the other is there to defend. Then there is my four year old....While my son does sometimes get annoyed with her when she gets into his things, or won't settle down while he is trying to study, he truly adores his four year old sister, (born exactly a week after his 13th birthday, we used to tease him that she was his birthday present that year, and he actually was the one who came up with her name.) will take her out with his girlfriend, will play with her on the floor, read to her, explain things to her, and watch out for her, my sixteen year old daughter loves her sister, (a fact I wasn't sure of until a few weeks ago when she came to the playground with us, and I witnessed her reaction when another child pushed her sister off of the swings and made her cry.) but she also resents her. She resents that she is sharing a room with a four year old, resents that her dad has another "princess" and she is sometimes just says really mean things to her. She doesn't want to do anything with her younger sister, won't play with her, read to her, etc. The four year old has now started referring to her sister as "mean Jordan" and has started blaming everything on her older sister. Any suggestions on how to help them find a common ground?

    • LADYGIRL profile image


      7 years ago

      I agree with you so much, it seems like you was talking about my brother and I. In his younger years he was all to himself and we never play together. My parents aloud this behavior and we grew up as man and woman. And we haven't spoke for about 4 years now. And was never really brother and sister. So I know exactly what you mean. Teach them while they are young to be together as one. The UNITY. A very good Hub...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Pam...great hub and so informative. Shame on those grandparents...I was lucky. My brother who is 3 years older than me has always been my friend. Doesn't matter what age we were we remain friends. My children are very close in age and they are friends too. Its all in how you raise your kids. Respect is a real key. There was no hitting when I was a kid and I taught that same respect to my kids. I know for some parents its just earier to look the other way.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      Excellent hub, Pamela.

      It's important to recognize each child - or person. Many folks seem to see the parade of people outside themselves as some kind of foggy mass to be dispensed with quickly so they can get on with their own stuff. Parents who don't think may even treat their children that way. Recognition is something more needed by a human being than almost anything. For a child who has had it and suddenly doesn't - it's a devastating blow. Parents are responsible for supplying it to each of their children.

      I was the youngest by many years and it has other effects in that situation. The older ones are already settled and the younger one is regarded as both competition and inept! It is a difficult role to escape.

    • annaw profile image


      7 years ago from North Texas

      I was not raised with siblings, but I have heard women I know say they never wanted children because their mother put their siblings off on them and they hated it so much! One of these women could not wait to leave home and did so at a very early age because she was angry and felt put upon by her mother. Felt it was not her responsibility to take care of her siblings and even said I did not open my legs to have them. Good Hub. I agree it is not the responsibility of older children to care for younger siblings. My feelings are if a woman cannot take care of all the children she has then she should not have had so many.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Don’t turn kids into servants - this is the most exciting tips I have ever heard about parenting. Thanks for this wonderful hub. I'm sharing this hub with my friends and relatives who are raising children.


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