One of the most important parts of life is how you interact with your siblings. There are many factors that will determine how your relationship with your siblings will be and most of them are out of everyone’s control. However, there are many factors that are directly impacted by how children are raised. Taking the right steps at an early age will ensure that your children continue to be close as they grow into adults.
All children are likely to have different interests and very different personalities, it is important that you don’t let these factors stop them from being close and helping one another. In too many families siblings are interested in different things from a young age and spend very little time together. Then, when they are older they don’t see a reason to focus on keeping in touch. Ensure that you place a priority on family activities every week. That may be something as simple as sitting down to dinner together and discussing the main points of your day or it may be a weekly game night.
Following that idea, you should try to plan activities that all your children will enjoy. While your daughter may be interested in science and your son interested in horse riding, try not to book a trip to the local science exhibit. Instead, opt for something they will both enjoy like a trampoline park.
Of course, if there is a science exhibit in town and your daughter wants to go, it could still be a great family activity. Just ensure you are fair and that the family does something your other child is interested in soon after. This takes us to a broader point about how you raise your children. A lot of resentment that could be felt is based on how parents treat their children. There are countless examples of “mommy’s boys” and “daddy’s girls” where one parent always seems to have a favorite. Don’t have favorites. Even if you share similar interests with one of your children, don’t let it impact how much time you spend with each of them. You are there to spend time with them not to do the things that you enjoy.
One of the most important things to help your children stay close in future years is to teach them emotional intelligence. Your children will fight, they will fight a lot. If they don’t have the ability to solve conflicts then one of these fights may leave permanent damage. You could resolve these arguments for them but that will only cause them to rely on your presence and possibly resent you for picking sides. Instead, teach them how to resolve conflicts and allow the argument to take place.
These factors will all create a great foundation for when they are adults. Even as teenagers they will use these ideas to foster a stronger bond. Of course, as they grow older the dynamic of their relationship will change and you should allow that to take place and encourage it.
While the youngest sibling may be the ‘pet’ of the family, in time, he/she won’t want to be seen that way. Help your children to navigate these changing roles in your family by giving them responsibilities and allowing them to be on an equal standing within the family. While it is important to your children that you are there for all their big moments in life, it is important that their siblings are there too.
Ensure that your children continue to support each other even as they grow older and start to become busy with their lives. Whatever happens, ensure that your children understand the importance of family and that at any moment, good or bad, they can turn to their siblings for advice and support.