Are the kids fighting again? Here’s something you can do about it that actually works.
Among the most frequently asked questions I receive as a pediatrician and parenting author is this one: How do I make my kids get along?
I get this question most often from parents who didn’t get along with their siblings growing up and want to make sure their kids don’t repeat that behavior. As we get older, we value our sibling relationships more, but it’s hard to maintain a good relationship with your sibling if it was never good in the first place.
While I can’t do much about your relationship history with your siblings, I do have some tips for making sure your own children get along. Harmony in the home might feel impossible right now, but trust me, it is not.
If your children are arguing, fighting, or flat-out at each other’s throats, here are a few things you can do to course-correct:
1. Monitor your own behavior.
The best thing you can do to ensure your children develop healthy relationships with each other is to model respectful, loving speech. Kids usually mimic what they see and hear. If your tone is harsh or your words are demeaning when you speak to other adults or family members, your children will think they can speak to each other in this way.
If your tone is kind and your words are loving, your children will better mimic this with one another. You’ve heard that “more is caught than taught,” and this is especially true with how children treat and talk to each other.
2. Do family activities together.
As your kids grow older, take them to do things together that require fun and cooperation. Camping is a great example of an activity that fosters sibling bonding. Whether putting up the tent together, cooking over the fire, or navigating a hike, activities like this will teach your children that they need each other and will deepen their respect for one another.