Brothers and sisters can get on like a house on fire, but there can be times when they’re worst enemies. No matter how much they love each other, siblings can be naturally competitive with each other. At times it’s healthy, but it can be destructive if it happens too frequently, leading to deep-rooted relationship issues that might cause real problems further down the line. Whether you’re concerned about a pressing issue or simply want your teenagers to stop to squabbling for five minutes, we’ve got a few tips for you to help get things under control.
Try sympathy. According to Your Modern Family, kids respond better to sympathetic advice than our standard responses. If your child comes up to you to say that their sibling did something trivial, try and sympathize with them by saying, “Oh, did they? That probably hurt your feelings.” It’s a small switch up but can help children feel valued and understood, and despite what we might think, it’s not mollycoddling.
Keep it equal. If a huge argument has broken out and you weren’t there to witness who did what, don’t be tempted to side with the child that seems most upset. If you don’t have hard facts, you can’t make an informed decision and run the risk of bringing the hammer down when there really isn’t any guilt there. Instead, treat them both equally and let them face the same consequences.
A particular item causing tension? Take it away. If it’s an electronic device that’s causing issues, take it away. It might seem harsh, but if the kids can’t learn to appreciate something together without an argument then eliminating the middle man is the quickest way to a resolution. Not only will the kids realize how stupid the issue was, but they’ll eventually work together to get the ban reversed. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Spend more family time. In this technological age, it’s easy for kids to spend time apart. Bonding is an essential part of a good family dynamic, so try spending more time together as a unit doing things that everyone enjoys. It’ll help everyone to see eye to eye and these simple activities do so much for relationships.
This article originally appeared on Moms