researchers at Penn State, "Negative sibling relationships are strongly linked to aggressive, anti-social, and delinquent behavior." The study also finds positive sibling relationships lead to success in many other aspects of life, like academic success.Many families experience sibling rivalry, and a recent study shows it's more than just a pain for the parents. It is actually detrimental to kids. According to
The study examined the effects of an afterschool program that helped improve sibling relationships. Researchers used interactive games and activities to teach positive communication and problem-solving skills to sibling pairs. Lead researcher Mark Feinberg found that, compared to the control group, the children involved in the program showed more self-control, social confidence, and stronger academic performances.
The researchers suggest that parents help their kids learn to solve problems and communicate effectively with one another. The bottom line is siblings should look at each other as teammates rather than as competitors. If you're looking for ways to encourage this sort of relationship between your children, consider these ideas.
Require a connection
Whether it's making them sit on the couch together if they start fighting or requiring them to hug and say they're sorry, physical interaction can break down barriers and forge a connection between quarreling siblings.
Provide opportunities to work together
As the study suggests, being on the same team to solve a problem or reach a goal can nurture positive sibling relationships. Give your kids something to accomplish, plan, or create together. Working together to accomplish a goal will require your kids to get along.
Bunk them together
Sharing a room with my sister was a great bonding experience for us. We used to talk before we went to sleep, and we still laugh about the code words we came up with during that time. It also encouraged us to have a shared sense of responsibility over our space, even if she didn't do her fair share of the cleaning. Plus, I imagine I was more prepared to have a roommate in college than if I'd always had my own room.
As I think back to family vacations, playing games together, or putting on the surely amazing plays I would often write, the times when my siblings and I were playing together were the times I felt the closest to them. Encourage your kids to play together and share. After all, siblings are built-in playmates with the potential to turn into lifelong best friends.
How do you encourage positive relationships between your kids?
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