Brothers and sisters want to get along. They want to have fun with each other. Often, we parents are so relieved to have things going well between our children that we don’t notice the details of the generous and flexible moments between them. We use the times that go well between them to get our housework or phone calls or schoolwork done.
If you look carefully, you’ll see sharing, assistance, and thoughtfulness at moments and in places you hadn’t noticed before. Sometimes, these moments of brotherly and sisterly genius take place a split-second before the relationship deteriorates into a tangle.
In spite of what follows, those few seconds were an effort, and an achievement. Your appreciation of the positive is a help to your children’s relationship. “Jacquie, thanks for bringing your sister the brush. Now can you let her do her hair herself?” helps a child feel seen. Her effort to help is real, even if her follow-through leaves something to be desired.
Below, we’ve broken down some of the most common struggles parents encounter when raising siblings. In each section, you’ll learn some insight behind the behavior struggles and some ideas for how to intervene or prevent it.