How To Bridge A Sibling Gap


sibling gapThere are numerous reasons why your children have a brick wall between them and a lot of time it’s difficult to figure out what that is. If your children are constantly arguing and physically fighting then it may be time to step in. Here are a couple of examples with solutions to get you started.

Learning how to bridge a sibling gap

Scenario 1 – the extremely older sibling

My brother is nine years older than me so we didn’t have a playful sibling relationship; he was more like a guardian or babysitter. Most of our arguments occurred after school when I was just starting elementary school and they normally involved what I was or was not going to do that he told me to do. The arguments always ended with, “I’m going to tell Mom,” from my brother and “I’m going to tell Daddy,” from me. Can you see the divide?

Solution 1 – find fun things to do

I know having an older child to help you with younger children is a godsend, but you don’t want the older sibling to have a parenting role. In addition to my experience as a child, I have four children and my daughter is 13 years older than the second child. To facilitate this, I laid down ground rules that included how she should respond or discipline them. (She really didn’t like just putting them in a corner.) She was definitely a big help with taking care of them, but they also played together. The younger ones now 11, 10 & 8 still enjoy spending time with their sister, who’s 24, playing games, cooking and eating junk food (sometimes!). Despite the age difference, I think they’ll all remain good friends.

Scenario 2 – unfortunately, you have a bully

A friend of mine has two children, a girl and a boy ages 10 and 11, respectively. The son is always (no exaggeration) taunting his sister. He pulls, wrestles, insults, teases and disrespects her on a regular basis. Although I’m not sure how long this behavior was going on I did get the opportunity to talk with the girl about it. I discovered it is something she really hates and that her mom and stepfather don’t do anything about it.

Solution 2 – pay attention and stop it immediately

It may take some time before you discover why one of your children is bullying the other, but in the meantime you must put a stop to the behavior. The solution is only allowing them to spend supervised time together. Also, consider taking away any violent video games, monitoring television viewing and spend one on one time with the dominant child. When they’re spending time together they should do more than just sit together in a room. Initiate activities where they must communicate and interact.

Occasional dissension among siblings is normal, but it can often get out of hand. As parents, we should guide our children in the appropriate behavior and interaction if it’s not occurring naturally or if something has triggered a change. You want the love you have for your children and your family as a whole to emanate throughout your home.

Do you have other scenarios that are occurring in your home between siblings? Share in the comments below so we can begin a dialogue on solutions.

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