Children are unique in their own special way; each child has talents, interests and passions that differentiate them but as siblings, these attributes can stand as a threat to their co existence because truth is, in a home, no child likes to just sink in the background – there’s a constant battle for attention, praise and acknowledgment. So then, how do we teach our children to embrace their individuality, co-exist without viewing their siblings as threats, giving into the pressure of surpassing the “preferred child’s achievement?. These 4 tips will help your children become confident in themselves so they can live in harmony with their siblings without feeling threatened;
Have your kids work together on a project, this gives your children the opportunity to feel needed and recognised. Assigning a set task to each child helps them recognise and accept their strengths as individuals. Each child should have something meaningful to contribute to the group based on age appropriateness. In the end, the goal as a parent is to point out strengths of each child to make them feel more confident in their uniqueness.
Groom your children to see good in others, in this case, their siblings. They should be able to pinpoint each other’s uniqueness, your kids should be able to recognise their areas of strengths as well as that of their siblings. It should play out something like this – “Tola’s good at fixing things, while I am good at calculating.” No kid should feel more special than the other. Teach your kids they’ve got something special working for them, so they don’t feel threatened when attention “seemingly” focuses on either of them.
Family takes priority if you want your kids to build on principles of togetherness. Doing things as a team; sharing and helping each other is one great way to make your children know these values are important. Children should be taught the effectiveness of cooperation amongst themselves so they don’t grow up feeling overly independent, looking down on others in turn.
Don’t just assume they know, state it clearly! Expectations should be clear, attitudes such as downgrading others to feel better about oneself should be strongly preached against. Ensure you teach your children the importance of supporting and embracing each other’s unique qualities to create smoother cooperation amongst them. This helps give sibling rivalry the boot. Ensure you create an enabling environment where each child feels valued and appreciated. This is key.
Sibling rivalry shouldn’t be taking for granted or considered normal, because it isn’t. Never fail to make your kids know how special they are, it goes a long way. Start now, don’t let things escalate before you launch.