My kids are 3, 6, and 9. For the most part, they get along. But of course, like all siblings they have their moments. As a mom, I want to help my kids learn to appreciate one another and go to bat for each other.
You can imagine my surprise when I saw this drawing by my 6-year-old. Noelle had made this picture of her with her off-and-on nemesis, her older brother Ethan.
Look at them in the chalk drawing.
They are holding hands.
They are holding flowers.
She loves him!
This made me smile all day long. Part of it was the humor and element of surprise – she loves her…brother!
I couldn’t help but gush about this picture to Noelle. She just smiled. It was a happy sibling moment.
From this surprise show of affection, I draw three conclusions about helping our kids get along:
1. Praise their efforts big time when they are getting along. If one is kind to another, put the spotlight on that. If you have some kind of reward system (we fill a marble jar and then go out to a special place when it’s full), reward positive behavior toward siblings. Point out to the rest of the family how well those particular siblings are working together.
2. Next time you’re at a dollar store, try this: Have your kids pick out gifts for their siblings. They can look for what they think their brother or sister would like the best. You pay the bill and as long as you don’t have as many kids as the Duggars, you should be fine. After checking out, have the siblings present the gifts to one another. You gain good will, and it’s nice for a kid not to always be thinking of themselves when in a toy store.
3. Remember, they really do love one another. Deep down (sometimes way deep down), brothers and sisters, and sisters and sisters, and brothers and brothers really do care for one another. Assume this. Assume the best in your kids. Don’t assume that they hate each other and live to drive each other nuts. They will probably rise to fit that bill. But instead, start with the groundwork at the beginning of each day: we are a family and we love each other.
See, it’s easy as 1-2-3.
Hope you have your own drawing of heavenly siblings soon!