By Susan Heckler
Being a parent can be an endless challenge. We need to balance being a loving guardian and yet instill morals, ethics and values in our children, all the while keeping them out of harm’s way. As if that isn’t hard enough, we also need to take into account how our children perceive our actions, as this may have long lasting consequences. It is a feudal attempt to make everyone happy, and the choices we make may not fail to disappoint.
Your children are born as individuals with their own personality, temperaments, interests, and needs set in stone at birth. Playing referee to them can reduce family harmony and set up deadly feelings of jealousy amongst siblings. The trick is to reduce circumstances that break down sibling relationships causing long-lasting resentment.
A few thinking points to parents:
• Avoid comparing behaviors or accomplishments. Someone is going to feel bad.
• Listen openly and fairly to your children, especially in areas of conflict. They will at least walk away feeling respected, knowing their side was considered.
• Nicknames, while cute, can be negative labels.
• Find your child’s individual strength and talent and help them cultivate it. Hopefully each child will have a different strength and feel appreciated for it. This is a great self-esteem booster.
• Set aside one-on-one time with each child to build togetherness.
• Reinforce sibling harmony by supporting cooperative behavior.
By the way, don’t think your sibling juggling act is complete when your children are adults and on their own. Keep up with the thinking points, as sibling rivalry can carry over to the next generation.
By Susan Heckler