- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice»
- Parenting Advice & Tips
Raising Children That Get Along
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.
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.