A few hours of having my children home for the Christmas holidays and the “fun” has already begun! I am blessed with two amazing young adult children (girl and boy) who love and get along with each other quite well. Sometimes they do have rather unconventional ways of showing their love for each other with jabs and teasing that leave me in “pain”.
Not sure if it’s just me but have you ever watched your children (no matter what age) bicker or have “friendly” banters with one another? I’m usually tempted to jump in and remind each of them of the 9 months and labor of their births. I can’t explain it but sometimes these “jokes” cut so deep in my heart that I find myself reacting more than the two people involved. My first instinct is to blow my referee whistle, swoop in like a typical helicopter parent, try and defuse any potentially ugly situation. I have been accused of being partial, playing favorites (even by the person I was supporting) or just not getting it.
I believe that every parent would love to see their children not just get along, but also watch out for and show kindness to each other.
“Charity” they say begins at home so in the spirit of cultivating a culture of kindness, how can we get our children to improve their kindness quotient to each other?
- Teach mutual respect. Discourage your children from insulting one another even when they’re joking. Words are very powerful, and snide comments can damage deeply. Experts say every negative comment needs at least five positive remarks to even out.
- Encourage team activities. Teach them to appreciate and celebrate each others strengths.
- Don’t play favorites and refuse the temptation of comparing and shaming. It builds resentment.
- Do not ignore or berate your child for some of the emotions (jealousy, anger) they feel towards their sibling(s). Rather help them figure out why they feel the way they do, help them learn how to deal with these emotions appropriately and teach them how to resolve / manage conflict effectively.
- Teach them to be willing to make sacrifices for each other and show kindness in practical terms (giving gifts at birthdays or Christmas).
- Parents be mindful how you treat your own siblings – remember our children usually take their cue from us.
- Pray that your children will honor, love and watch out for each other’s best interest.
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