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Archive for the ‘Sibling Rivalry’ Category

How to Help Siblings Play More and Fight Less

Monday, March 18th, 2013

When you have more than one child, you naturally entertain fantasies of your little ones growing up to be the very best of friends. It can be distressing to realize that, as they grow older, arguments can become more common than peaceful playtime. While there’s only so much you can do as a parent to facilitate a strong and affectionate relationship between two people that may have diametrically opposed interests and ideas, there are ways you can help create a more peaceful environment for your brood.

Don’t Draw Comparisons

Expressing your disappointment or confusion regarding a child’s behavior by asking him why he can’t be more like his sister or pointing out that his brother never behaves in such a manner may not seem like a catalyst for sibling skirmishes, but it absolutely is. When one child feels as if he’s constantly being compared to a sibling and is always coming up short, it’s not you that will bear the brunt of his anger. The sibling that he feels like he’s competing with is likely to be seen as competition not only for your love and affection, but also for your acceptance. Regardless of how much you may genuinely want to know why he acts the way he does, avoid framing the question as a comparison to another sibling.

Avoid Situations Conducive to Battle

Every parent knows that a tired, hungry or anxious child is usually a cranky child. When you put two cranky kids in close quarters, it’s just not reasonable to expect good behavior. Rather than placing your children in the pressure cooker that is close proximity to one another when everyone is feeling irritable, look for ways to stop conflict before it starts. Keep hungry or sleepy kids away from one another, don’t insist that they play together and make every effort to meet their physical needs as soon as possible.

Allow Plenty of Personal Space

No matter how much you want your children to spend all of their time together in blissful play, it’s important to be realistic. Children, just like adults, will need a measure of personal space from time to time. This especially holds true for older siblings that are continually followed around by adoring brothers and sisters. Make sure that you give each child plenty of time to play on their own; when they’re not being forced to play together, you may find that they voluntarily seek one another out.

Talk About Boundaries and Privacy

Older kids can feel as if they have no time to themselves, no privacy and that they’re always competing with younger kids for parental attention. Making absolutely sure that your younger children have a clear understanding about boundaries and privacy can help stave off some arguments and facilitate a better relationship between your children. On the same token, it’s important for older kids to understand that their younger siblings require space from time to time, and that taunting and teasing only leads to more trouble.

Only Get Involved When It’s Necessary

It’s tempting to intervene in an argument just to get some peace in your house, but doing so too soon will not only force you to choose sides in a dispute, it will also rob your children of an opportunity to work on their own conflict management skills. Your kids need to know how to handle conflict on their own, how to diffuse an argument and how to communicate effectively. When you jump in at the first sign of trouble to mete out justice, they never get the chance to put those skills into practice.

Give Siblings Collaborative Tasks

Asking two warring siblings to work together on a project may be the last thing you want to do, but it can help them sort out their differences. When your kids have a common goal, they’re forced to look past their disparities and find a way to overcome them. Not only will you be helping them develop their own set of valuable social skills, but you’ll also be creating an environment where they learn to set aside a disagreement in order to affect positive change. Before you dole out punishments, consider putting your kids to work together for a while.

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Where to Shop for Coordinating Outfits for Siblings

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

While you may not want to make an everyday habit of dressing your children in coordinating outfits, it can be the perfect way to pull everyone together for a family portrait or special occasion. However, unless you’re handy with a sewing machine and have the time to devote to part-time fashion design, you’ll have to find stores that offer coordinating outfits. If you want to make a fashion statement with your brood without dressing them in identical outfits in their respective sizes, these websites are great places to shop for outfits that complement one another, rather than matching perfectly.

  • Wooden Soldier – This New Hampshire-based children’s boutique offers an array of fashion-forward special-occasion wear, from Communion to Easter outfits. There’s also a sizable selection of brother/sister outfits and sibling ensembles available. Many of the pieces on WoodenSoldier.com are exclusive designs that you won’t see anywhere else, ensuring that your kids are unique and fashionable at every party and in every photo.
  • Etsy – A collective of artisans and crafters, Etsy is an online one-stop-shop for one-of-a-kind fashions. The sheer number of merchants specializing in children’s apparel is staggering, and most of the artists and creators who sell their goods on Etsy will accept custom orders. Not only will your kids’ outfits coordinate, you’ll be able to take an active role in the design. If you have special colors, fabrics or other requirements that would be best met by a custom design, Etsy may be your best bet.
  • Lilabee Clothing – From Big Sister/Big Brother sets to coordinating outfits for multiples, Lilabee has it all. The Siblings line is touted as clothing “made by twins for twins and multiples.” The personalized onesies are an especially adorable touch for identical twins.
  • CWDkids – Not only does Cute Well-Dressed Kids stock a full line of coordinating sibling outfits, but also a line of parent/child clothing. If you want to make sure that everyone in a family portrait is wearing complementing outfits, CWDkids is the place to go. Sibling sets run the gamut from pajamas to beachwear, so there’s definitely something for every occasion. If you live in the Richmond, Virginia area, you can also visit CWDkids’s brick-and-mortar store for a more hands-on shopping experience.
  • Just Multiples – Created by a twin, JustMultiples.com is a clearinghouse for all things sibling. From birth announcements to matching clothing, this site is absolutely a one-stop-shop. There’s also a line for preemies, which is particularly thoughtful for parents of newborn, premature multiples. In addition to clothing for the smallest members of the family, JustMultiples.com stocks plenty of novelty tees for the rest of the household.
  • AddieKat Boutique – The proprietor of AddieKat Boutique named her online store after her own two children, and is the sole designer/creator behind the label. Every item and sibling set is custom made in high-end boutique style. Holiday outfits, birthday outfits for twins and a variety of coordinating separates for every occasion are available through AddieKat, all at reasonable prices. AddieKat also offers a selection of awareness-ribbon outfits for kids that want to show their support of a particular cause. Because each item or set is custom made, don’t expect your purchases to ship out overnight.
  • Children’s Cottage – A mother-daughter team owns and operates Children’s Cottage, a high-end boutique for the smaller set. In addition to national brands, proprietors Barbara Ward and Donna Ward Black also design their own line, Caroline Bradlee. Monogrammed and personalized clothing is also available, along with a variety of accessories, shoes and hats.

These are only a small sampling of the online boutiques with coordinating sibling lines, but they’re wonderful places to start. Keep an eye out for complementary outfits scattered in other categories of the sites, as well. Sometimes certain colors or elements are popular enough to be repeated in some way across sizing and styles, making it possible to mix and match your own coordinating set within a particular clothing line.

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10 Common Reasons Why Teen Siblings Fight

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

If you have teenagers, then you know that there are a lot of ups and downs with raising them.  They are pushing the boundaries and getting ready to leave the nest.  They are often rebellious and will fight with you and their siblings over the silliest of things.  But in a time when you think that your teenagers should be getting closer, why do they still have such big fights?  Check out 10 common reasons why teen siblings fight.

  1. Inequality: Often sibling fights start because one sibling doesn’t feel they are being treated fairly by the parents.  The oldest usually gets more privileges and can stay out later than the younger.  Maybe the oldest is involved in sports while the youngest isn’t so they feel like the world revolves around the schedule of the older child.
  2. Jealousy: One sibling might be jealous of what the other sibling has.  Maybe one teen has a phone and the other doesn’t have one yet.  Or maybe one got a car when they turned 16 and the other didn’t because the car was meant to be shared between the teens when the time came that they could both drive.
  3. Hormones: Everyone knows that teenagers have raging hormones and not just the kind that are aimed at members of the opposite sex.  Hormone imbalances can cause irritability and just make them short tempered so any perceived slight will set them off on a rant.
  4. Unmet expectations: Sometimes teens think that they have each other’s back, but then the sibling will rat the other one out if they broke the rules.  Expectations are a big deal, but are often assumed and teens need to realize that no one reads minds and that if they don’t express their expectations then theirs sibling won’t be able to meet them.
  5. Frustration: Being a teen is frustrating enough.  School is harder and more stressful.  Members of the opposite sex enter into the picture and cause their own drama.  Teens can be frustrated with each other for nothing more than eating something too loudly.  If things don’t go their way in one aspect of their world they may take it out on their sibling.
  6. Feeling of betrayal: This is more likely to happen when there are teens of the same sex in the household.  One sister dates the boy the other sister liked and now she feels betrayed by her own sister.  Or one brother gets into an argument with another guy and his brother sides with the other guy instead of him.  Siblings feel like even though they fight that they should stick together on the important stuff and that just doesn’t always happen.
  7. Competition: Who’s the biggest, skinniest, prettiest, fastest or most talented?  Siblings will compete with each other and results of the competitions most always cause a fight.  The other person had to have cheated or somehow rigged the contest.  Maybe it’s not a looks contest, but a contest to see who’s smartest?  Who gets better grades?
  8. Need for space: Teenagers seem to do a lot of deep thinking and they need their space.  When a younger teen interrupts an older sibling’s private time or invades their space there is likely going to be fireworks and not the good kind.  This also includes sitting too closely to them in the car.  The whole fight about who’s touching whom will ensue and you’ll want to pull your hair out, but keep in mind this too shall pass.  
  9. Touching or taking their stuff: Another thing that teenagers are is possessive of their things.  They don’t want their sibling to use, touch or take anything that belongs to them.  If their sister borrowed their favorite shirt without asking and now it’s dirty and they wanted to wear it to the game there’s going to be a lot of fighting.  As soon as kids get something they consider to be their own, these kinds of fights start and it doesn’t stop when they become older teenagers.  It just gets louder and the stuff gets more expensive.
  10. Insults flying: Sometimes teenagers just fight because they can.  Perhaps they get bored and just feel like picking a fight, but it’s often just stupid stuff that they fight about.  Siblings know how to push each other’s buttons and they will do it just to get a rise out of their sibling.  There’s just something about irritating each other that’s part of the growing up process.

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Why Siblings Don’t Make Good Babysitters

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

When parents are forced to leave the home for work purposes or social engagements it’s not uncommon for them to leave an eldest child in charge of both the household and their younger siblings for a brief period of time. This family-based approach to childcare raises few eyebrows; however, there are several reasons why it may not always be the best idea. Before leaving your children in the care of an older sibling, there are a few factors that you might want to consider.

The Arrangement Can Affect Sibling Relationships and the Family Dynamic

Younger children may have a difficult time accepting an older sibling as an authority figure, especially if they’re not accustomed to being left in their care. Faced with a willfully disobedient, stubborn younger sibling, older kids can become disillusioned with the idea of helping to care for them; the strain that such behavior places on sibling relationships can easily extend to the dynamic of your family as a whole; this tension and the damage it causes can be difficult to avoid or repair. Often, an unrelated babysitter, even one of comparable age and childcare experience level, can maintain order and establish themselves as an authority figure with less difficulty and better results than a sibling.

Arguments Can Quickly Spiral Out of Control

Most often, when siblings argue, there is a parent or authority figure on hand to intervene before the situation gets out of control. Left to their own devices, however, kids who have a tendency to argue or an established history of not getting along are likely to have disagreements that lead to serious altercations, up to and including physical violence. This is especially true when a younger sibling resents the authority that a parent has bestowed on a brother or sister that they view as an equal, rather than a caregiver.

Kids Can Become “Partners in Crime”

Parents of several children are well acquainted with the crowd mentality, which can cause children that are normally well-behaved to descend into anarchy the moment they have a willing accomplice. Siblings that get along well may not have dangerous disputes or suffer from mutual resentment as a result of a sibling-as-caregiver arrangement; they may, however, find themselves breaking the rules and behaving in a way that they know isn’t acceptable simply because there are no adults to stop them. Rather than supervising younger brothers and sisters, older siblings often become inadvertent ringleaders, which can sometimes lead to disastrous results.

Possible Legal Ramifications

Depending upon the laws in your area, leaving an older child in charge of his siblings could be considered unlawful neglect. The National Child Care Information Center states that only Illinois and Maryland currently have laws mandating a specific minimum age for leaving a child at home alone, and even those states consider additional factors when determining neglect. Should a situation arise in which emergency assistance is required in the absence of an adult, parents may find themselves in a precarious legal position.

Resentment Can Lead to Dangerous Conditions

In most cases, the oldest child in a family is eager to accept responsibility for their younger siblings on occasion, both as a means of exerting their independence from their parents and to establish a pattern or responsibility that extends to the earning of privileges or other compensation. Still, there are teenagers that view such responsibilities as a burden, especially when frequent babysitting duties interfere with their own budding social lives or the pursuit of favorite hobbies. When older kids resent their parents and younger siblings for this interference, they can become so angry that they provide less-than-adequate care for the youngest members of the family; in the supervision vacuum left by a resentful sibling caregiver, kids can very easily find themselves in dangerous situations.

When older children are forced to look after their siblings as a result of a significant change in the family, such as a divorce, extended illness, or even sudden financial difficulties that require a second parent to enter the workforce, the stress of coping with those changes is compounded by the added responsibility of looking after younger brothers and sisters. During these complicated and often traumatic times in the lives of your children, it may be better for everyone involved if an outside caregiver or an older member of the extended family is called in to meet childcare needs. Teenagers that are struggling with some degree of upheaval or change in family dynamics are not the ideal choice to shoulder the serious responsibility or the burden of becoming a primary caregiver, especially if they’ve shown signs of resentment or lashing out as a result of such arrangements.

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10 Tips for Keeping Peace Among Siblings

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

For parents and caregivers of multiple children, keeping the peace among siblings can seem like a full-time job in and of itself. Siblings may fight for a parent’s attention, they may fight over a toy, or they may fight because their developmental levels are so different from one another that it’s hard for them to relate to each other. If siblings have opposing temperaments, such as when one is laid back and one craves a rigid routine, they may also bicker constantly because they are simply wired differently, making it hard for them to connect.

Fortunately there are things parents and caregivers can do to help keep the peace among siblings.

These include:

Allowing them their own space. Siblings spend most of their time together, and often it is not by choice. Allowing each child to have their own space and to play independently can help defuse feelings of resentment. While siblings should of course learn to play nicely together, allowing children to play alone at times gives them permission to take a much needed break from a sibling when needed. When a child says he wants to play alone, insisting other children allow him to do so provides an opportunity to teach about respect.

Allowing them their own things. While most of the toys in your home will be available for any and all children to use, each child should have a few cherished toys that they aren’t required to share. When children have their own things they are forced to take responsibility and ownership of them. Having a few toys that are share-free can help children to feel like individuals, which is important for their self-esteem.

Laying the ground rules.When it comes to acceptable and unacceptable treatment of siblings, the rules should be clear and few. Your rules may read something like this: “In our home we are kind to our siblings. We don’t hurt our siblings with our hands or our words.”  Make a simple sign and hang it on the fridge so everyone is reminded of the rules.

Staying out of it. At all costs, parents must avoid taking sides. Trying to assign blame or figure out who did what only makes the situation worse. When safety isn’t an issue, stay out of it for as long as possible to give the children a chance to work it out on their own. If you do need to intervene, instead of trying to referee, insist that both children stop doing whatever they’re doing wrong.

Teaching them to talk it out.For a child, learning to communicate their feelings with words, rather than fists, doesn’t always come naturally. Get out a paper towel tube and give it to one child at a time. Encourage them to use “I and when” statements to communicate their feelings with words rather than fists. “I feel hurt when you won’t let me play trucks with you.” While you may have to model and coach them through their dialogue at first, teaching them to talk it out is a life lesson that’s worth the time invested in instruction.

Insist they kiss and make up. When the children fight, encourage the instigator to apologize and say something nice to his sibling. When you do this, it forces the child to consider something nice about his sibling and allows the child who was hurt to hear something nice about himself. Teaching children to never go to bed angry is another life lesson worth teaching.

Appreciate each child. While it can be tempting to compare siblings, don’t. Appreciate each child for the unique being she is. If one child loves dance and the other baseball, encourage them to each pursue their own interests and passions. Don’t expect all siblings, even twins, to be cut from the same mold. As each child is unique, so is each sibling.

Spend time alone with each child. Carving out one-on-one time for each child every day can significantly reduce sibling rivalry. Each child wants to know that they are special to you and valuable enough to have your undivided attention. Whether it be giving each child a bath, reading a book to each child before bed or going for a short walk with each child after dinner, spending time with each child individually is vital to helping siblings to get along.

Foster a friendship. Your children are siblings by blood, friends by choice. Encourage your children to become friends. Provide opportunities for them to help and support each other. From attending school events in support of each other, to getting a diaper for a baby sibling, adopting an “I am here to help and support you” attitude in your children will foster lasting friendships for life.

Praise good behavior. When you see your children treating each other kindly and with respect, call them out on it. “I saw how you shared your last piece of candy with your brother. That was so kind and something a good friend would do. I am so proud you made the choice to share.”  When you call attention to desirable behavior, you naturally reinforce it.

While almost all siblings will bicker and argue from time to time, with a little planning and support from parents and caregivers, the overall relationships between siblings can be peaceful.

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10 Huge Celebrities with Deadbeat Siblings

Friday, May 18th, 2012

When you make it big or just come into some money it’s amazing how many long lost family members surface to share the wealth.  I’m sure the same thing happens when your sibling makes it big in music or acting.  We’ve seen a lot of siblings ride the coattails of their celebrity sibling.  Check out 10 celebrities with deadbeat siblings.

  1. Michael Jackson: Michael may have gotten his start singing with his older brothers and sisters, but when his talent took off and he made it big things changed.  Now after his death his brothers and sisters are still fighting over his money.  The only one who isn’t fighting is Janet because she’s almost as big as Michael was.  It was rumored that Michael was paying a lot of the bills for his brothers and sisters over the last twenty years.  La Toya is still trying to cash in on the fact that she is Michael’s sister.
  2. Alec Baldwin: His brother Daniel is the least famous of the brother.  I’m not sure if he gets extra credit or not because all of his brothers are more successful than he is.  Yes, Daniel is the deadbeat brother of Alec, William and Stephen Baldwin.  He’s a drug user, streaker, and reckless driver just to name a few.  He tried to make a buck by appearing on Celebrity Fit Club, a reality show that helps celebrities lose weight and get into shape, but he didn’t even show up for the season finale.  What a loser.  I guess the good genes all ran out by the time they got to him.
  3. Jimmy Carter: Billy is a red-necked hick that has embarrassed his brother on multiple occasions.  Not only is he an alcoholic, but he’s been caught by press urinating on an airport runway.  Over the years Billy has tried to profit off of his brother’s good name by trying to sell his own line of beer.  How appropriate for an alcoholic to sell his own line of beer.
  4. Madonna: Anthony Ciccone, Madonna’s older brother, is reportedly homeless and living under a bridge in Michigan.  Apparently he has trouble handling money which might be why he’s living on the streets.  He’s mad at his sister for not helping him out during his time of need.  Apparently he got fired from the “family vineyard” which probably tells you what kind of work ethic the guy had if his own family fired him.
  5. Mariah Carey: Alison Carey Scott, older sister of Mariah Carey, is said to be HIV positive as a result of her life as a hooker.  She has been arrested for prostitution and drugs.  Apparently she has an ad out advertising herself as an escort and erotic massager at the going rate of $250 an hour.  She claims she can get no help from any of her family.  She is the mother of four.  Mariah has paid for rehab several times.
  6. Bill Clinton: Roger Clinton, he’s the deadbeat brother of former president Bill Clinton.  He’s done time in prison for dealing cocaine in the 80’s and taking money from the mob in exchange for a request for leniency for some mobster doing time for dealing cocaine.  Just what we need, the president’s half-brother taking payoff money from the Gambino family.  Tsk. Tsk.  Shameful, kind of makes what Bill did less offensive right?
  7. Jimi Hendrix: Leon, deadbeat brother of Jimi, this guy really was scraping bottom.  He stole a fur coat and was sent to jail.  He was doing time for his crime right when his brother Jimi died and he got next to nothing in inheritance.  Apparently most of it went to Jimi’s dad and when his dad passed away poor Leon only got a single gold record to show for it.  He’s now so slimy he’s trying to make money by selling albums and the only thing going for that album is his last name.  Too bad he couldn’t find a life of his own.
  8. Rob Lowe: Chad Lowe, riding his brother Rob Lowe’s coattails trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood, but failing miserably at it.
  9. Richard Nixon: Donald Nixon, brother of former president Richard Nixon.  He wasn’t a complete deadbeat, but he kept trying his hand in venture after venture with people his brother “knew”.  His money got tied up in the Watergate scandal as well and he filed for bankruptcy in 1961.  He later died of cancer in 1987.  His brother didn’t trust him and was having the CIA wiretap him.
  10. Beyonce Knowles: Solange, little sister to Beyonce, Solange got her start as a teenager dancing with sister Beyonce’s group Destiny’s Child.  She went on to write and record an album on her Father’s record label.  The album did not do particularly well.  Beyonce tried to help her sister when she could.  Solange has done some acting as well cashing in on her sister’s fame to get the roles.

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10 Ways Parents Can Make Sibling Rivalry a Positive

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Sibling rivalry can tear a family apart; or as in the case of Eli and Peyton Manning, it can pull a family together and produce some extraordinary results. It is all a matter of how parents handle things. If you are concerned about the rivalry between your kids, here are some suggestions to use that power for good.

  1. Get your kids involved in sports – A sport can be a great outlet for energy and give each child a chance to excel in his or her preferred field. Since most siblings will be different ages they most likely will not be competing head to head. This will give them each an opportunity to support and cheer on one another.
  2. Give equal play to your kids – Without intending to, some parents show favoritism between kids making rivalry worse. If your son is in Boy Scouts and your daughter is in Girl Scouts be sure to support each child equally. Oftentimes, Girl Scouts get back seat rating to their Boy Scout brothers, both in activities and financial support of the program. When your daughter goes after her Gold Award, you will be just as proud of her as you are of your Eagle Scout. Whatever activities your kids choose, be sure to support them equally with your time and resources – even if it’s not your favorite thing to do.
  3. Encourage friendly competition – Sometimes kids will compete academically which can be a good thing as long as parents support the kids no matter what their test scores are. Teach your kids how to encourage each other as they compete and this will help the competition stay on friendly ground.
  4. Teach acceptable methods of handling conflict – Kids are going to get into conflicts with one another whether or not they are in competition on the playing field or in academics. Teaching them how to handle conflict in a positive and proactive manner will help them develop an important life skill.
  5. Praise effort over success – Of course you want your kids to be successful in everything good they do, however, when it comes to certain things, too much praise over success can be detrimental to one child over the other. Learning to give praise to a child for a valiant effort is priceless when it comes to rivalry between kids. The kid coming in second is most likely trying harder than the one who comes in first and those efforts need to be acknowledged by all, even the more successful sibling.
  6. Help each child find their niche – In one family, two boys were constantly at each other’s throats growing up; as they got older one joined the wrestling team while the other joined the debate team. Both became extremely successful in their activities and they learned to support one another. Finding what your kids are good at and giving them the support they need to do their best will help turn rivalry into a positive.
  7. Stress teamwork – There are things that can happen within the family that will foster teamwork between siblings. Teach the kids to work together and point out how things get done better and faster when everyone is pulling together. Engage in activities that are non-competitive and require cooperation.
  8. Teach empathy – Getting kids to empathize with one another is something that is taught. It takes time to stop and talk with your kids about their feelings and come to a place of understanding what empathy is about. However, it is worth the effort.
  9. Start early – Having more than one child will most likely lead to sibling rivalry at some point, so if you head it off early, you may have a better chance of that rivalry being more of a positive than a negative experience. When a new baby is due, older siblings can be very helpful as they assume the position of big brother or big sister. Begin talking about the responsibilities of being the older sibling in terms of being a good example showing compassion, being helpful, etc. Continue these talks as the kids grow and model the behaviors you wish your children to emulate. You may find that your kids end up helping each other more than bashing each other.
  10. Use humor – Many times using humor appropriately to deal with circumstances is all that’s needed to turn a bad situation around. Never use humor to embarrass or humiliate or call attention to a short coming, however.

Sibling rivalry is something that can have a positive side, if dealt with properly. It may seem like an uphill battle, but many larger families have found that when they started early in the game to foster sibling unity, that’s pretty much the result they got. Other families came late to the game, but using positive techniques, they too were able to turn fighting into friendship – maybe not all the time, but certainly a good deal of the time.

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10 Ways Kids Get Their Siblings to do Their Work

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Kids have always been creative when it comes to finding ways to get out of doing chores. The smarter the kid, the more creativity is used for avoiding work. Perhaps you may be wondering about some of the secret deals made by your kids behind the scenes when one of them wants to shirk their duties. Here are a few ways that kids may use to get their sibling to shoulder the load.

  1. Blackmail – It starts early. One kid has the goods on his sibling and carries it like a hammer over the other’s head. It works well until the one who’s avoiding being found out comes to the conclusion that it’s better to confess to Mom and Dad than to remain in a life of servitude.
  2. Bribery – All that’s needed is knowledge of something you have that your sibling wants. If you’re willing to give up the desired item, you’ve got it made. Depending on the age of the children involved, one can get a lot of work out of the other for a very small price. As they get older, the price gets higher. But some kids don’t mind if it means not having to do the work.
  3. Trading jobs – Sometimes the jobs are equal and sometimes not. If a sibling happens to be a little gullible, the other one could possibly get out of big job by offering to do a smaller job for his sibling. For example, taking out the garbage in exchange for vacuuming. The garbage may just mean taking one bag out to the dumpster, where vacuuming means doing the entire house including the steps.
  4. Payment – You always wondered why your kid always has money. Now you know. She’s getting paid to do her sister’s chores. Some kids would rather pay a sibling to do their work than to do it themselves.
  5. Bullying – Sad to say it, but some kids just bully their siblings into doing their work for them. When you have a big brother or sister that bosses you around and makes you feel intimidated, it is a lot easier to just give in and do what they tell you to do, especially if there will be consequences if you tell.
  6. Lying – “Mom says you have to do….” If Mom is not around to straighten things out then the pressure is on to get the job done before Mom gets home.
  7. Asking politely – Some siblings are very helpful toward one another and merely asking one to do the job of the other will be enough to get it done. This may be a somewhat rare occurrence, but it does happen
  8. Sharing the load – One sibling may ask the other for help and the other may oblige. Now this can go one of two ways. Hopefully the one who did the asking will work along side the one who is helping. More likely, it’s the helper who will actually do most of the work.
  9. Whining – Some kids can be so annoying with their whining and complaining that their siblings do the work for them to get them to be quiet.
  10. Needing or faking the need for help – Younger kids can often get the help of their older siblings by looking like they need help. Especially if the older sibling happens to be crazy about the younger one. Sometimes older kids really enjoy helping out their younger siblings.

Kids have their ways of bending situations to their advantage. You may want to check into the method your child uses to get others to do their work for them. Hopefully they are choosing an acceptable way of getting help otherwise you may need to have a talk about responsibility.

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10 Ways Parents Can Make Sibling Rivalry Worse

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

When you have more than one child you may have to face the war between the siblings at one point or another. You may luck out and not have to deal with any major rivalry issues. But most parents of multiple children usually end up in negotiations between rivals. Some parents are not aware of how their actions play into rivalry and can actually make it worse. Here are some things parents do to create more problems.

  1. Comparing children – When parents compare one child to another, they are only adding fuel to the fire when it comes to sibling rivalry. Parents may not even be aware that they are making those comparisons, but the kids are. Sometimes little comments may be overheard, and this will spark a fight.
  2. Not giving enough attention to one child – This can be inadvertent; for example, if one child is ill or has special needs and the other one may feel neglected. Any rivalry that exists between the siblings will most likely increase under these types of circumstances, unless the parents take the time to explain what is going on and create some extra quality time for the child who feels left out.
  3. Not preparing #1 for the birth of #2 – First born children usually have some time to get used to being the center of attention. A new baby means they will need to move over and, at the very least, share that lime light. Wise parents will include the first born in the process of preparing for the new baby early on, so that the baby’s arrival will be an expected pleasure rather than an unexpected interruption.
  4. Subconscious negative feelings toward one child – Sometimes a parent will have negative feelings toward one child due to something beyond the child’s control; for example, it could be that child reminds the parent of a relative who is difficult to get along with. The parent may not even be aware that they speak a little sharper to this child or come down a little harder on the kid.
  5. Parents may think fighting is acceptable – For some parents sibling rivalry may seem acceptable. They may feel that fighting is the normal way to work out problems between siblings. Such an attitude only reinforces the rivalry and does nothing to help the children find more positive methods of working out their differences.
  6. Lack of quality family time – When parents become too busy to establish quality family time, sibling rivalry can often increase. Sometimes, it is a subconscious ploy on the part of the kids to gain their parents attention.
  7. Parent’s reaction to conflict – A parent’s reaction to conflict will also help in determining whether or not the rivalry between siblings increases or gets better. Parents who tend to ignore conflict can expect the fighting between kids to increase just as parents who accept it.
  8. Parents experiencing stress – If parents are very stressed out and not giving the kids the time and attention they need, chances are that the kids will act out, and fighting and conflicts between them will increase and get worse.
  9. If kids feel there is inequality – When kids feel like there is inequality in the amount of discipline or responsiveness they are getting from their parents, they will act on that. Parents may not even realize that there is disparity in how they are disciplining the children.
  10. Setting kids up to compete – Anytime a parent sets kids up to compete against one another, they are laying a foundation for a boat load of sibling rivalry.

Learning to give you kids the attention and discipline they need, even when you feel you don’t have it to give, will go a long way in easing the tension between them. It may be challenging to do, but giving each of your kids quality time and working with them to foster good relationships with each other will do a lot toward promoting peace and harmony in the home.

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10 Infamous Stories About Siblings That Fought Publicly

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

For those of us who have siblings we can totally understand how fights can happen.  At the end of the day I think most of us feel that we’ll always love our sibling and we’ll always be family.  When you are in the spotlight having a fight publicly with your sibling it’s a bit harder to move on because it seems like everyone knows your business and has an opinion about it.  Check out 10 infamous stories about siblings that fought publicly.

  1. Mary Kate and Ashley: These billionaire moguls are so young it’s just amazing.  They’ve been acting since they were babies on Full House. It doesn’t help that they look alike, but in recent years they have tried to separate and have their own lives where they could.  Ashley reportedly got tired of taking care of Mary Kate’s manic mood swings and she just wanted out.  Ashley is worried that she will go down with her sister and wants to separate their assets.
  2. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine: Probably the oldest sibling rivalry in Hollywood.  These sisters are now in their 90’s and still refuse to go to the same event.  The most recent event was May 2008 when the Academy was celebrating Bette Davis’ life.  Both sisters had worked with her and were invited to share memories, but only one sister would attend.  Both, Oscar winning actresses from a forgotten era and both, too stubborn to stop fighting even in their twilight years.
  3. The Jacksons: After Michael died there were all sorts of squabbling about his money.  Then a proposed tour with the remaining Jackson siblings caused more fighting because the producers of the tour were going to pay Janet the most and La Toya and Rebbie the least.  The siblings didn’t think it was fair.
  4. Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren: These advice columnists were forever fighting.  This sibling rivalry went on for decades.  Abigail had the column called ‘Dear Abby’ and it was published in some newspapers while other newspapers carried ‘Ann Landers’.  At one point Abigail offered her column at a discounted rate to the Sioux City Journal if they would cease to run the ‘Ann Landers’ column.
  5. Venus and Serena Williams: These star athletes went head to head competing for tennis’ coveted titles.  These two have fought over the years about who is the better tennis player.  With Venus’ recent health scare these two sisters have become even closer now.
  6. Jessica and Ashlee Simpson: Jessica had the great music career first and opened the door for Ashlee.  Ashlee went on to star in her own reality TV show which of course never goes well.
  7. Payton and Eli Manning: What are the odds that two brothers would both love playing football?  Those odds are pretty good.  What about the odds that both would play quarterback on an NFL football team?  I’d say those odds are pretty low.  These two have fought about who is the better football player, but at least I don’t think this rivalry is a nasty one.
  8. Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen: This has been a very public fight in which Emilio tried to help Charlie end his downward spiral with drugs, but was unable to and Charlie didn’t want his brother’s help.  He plainly told him to butt out of his business.  It’s kind of hard to avoid the train wreck that is Charlie Sheen, but apparently his brother Emilio is done.
  9. Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian:  These three are amazing and seem to be constantly at each other’s throats.  Since they are doing a reality TV show everyone gets to be in on every nasty thing that they say to each other.  I do think in the end they will always be there for each other, but I think it’s time for them to grow up.
  10. The Bee Gees: Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb made up the Bee Gees and their group was on again and off again due to sibling squabbling.  When Maurice died Barry and Robin have mended fences and now perform together on occasion.  Stories about the fighting in the band were well documented.  Apparently the biggest fight was for approval from their father.  Their younger brother Andy went on to have tremendous success as a solo artist before his battle with drugs occurred and resulted in his death.  The brothers are reported to be still reeling from his death even today.

 

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