Parenting Tips: 3 Ways To Encourage Healthy Sibling Relationships

Americans love big families, and approximately 80% of all Americans have at least one sibling. Needless to say, there's a good chance that your child can expect a sibling to appear sometime in their life. Although you might love your siblings, getting along with them is a different story. Looking back at your relationship with your siblings, you may remember a lot of arguments and fights amidst the good times. As a parent, here are 3 ways you can encourage healthy sibling relationships and put sibling rivalry to rest.

Strongly Implement and Enforce House Rules

It's important to create a healthy and safe environment for your children to grow up in. The best way to do so is to set and implement house rules with set consequences for anyone who breaks them. In particular, to put sibling rivalry to rest, it's important to focus on setting house rules that emphasize on family values, such as sharing with and respecting one another.

The house rules should also clearly define how conflicts should be handled. This includes no violence or cussing. Tell your children that you expect them to be able to express their feelings in an appropriate manner, and to use words when they are upset. Naturally, to enforce these house rules, you will also need to come up with reasonable consequences for those who break them. For example, this may include having to take on more chores or having to make amends. By doing this, your children will learn how to interact and communicate with their siblings in a healthy manner from a young age. You'll nip many problems in the bud!

While it's important to enforce these rules, you should also take note of when your children are following these rules. Make sure to praise them when they do in order to reinforce the importance of these rules.

Foster Team Spirit

There's no better way to get your children to play and work well with one another than by fostering team spirit. It's vital that each child sees themselves as a part of a team, and know that he or she can rely on his or her siblings in the event that something happens. Fostering team spirit and building a strong relationship requires time and effort. The best way to foster team spirit is to go on family trips or to sign your children up for activities that they can do together.

Don't expect your children to pick up on team spirit immediately. In fact, practice makes perfect. Expect a bumpy road along the way. However, with each activity and event, your children will learn more about not only themselves but also about their siblings. They'll develop group sensitivity.

Don't Make Comparisons

Sibling rivalry is often instigated by parents making comparisons of one child to another. The last thing you should ever do is compare your children with one another. Always remember that each child is unique and will have a different personality, character or skillsets as the other. Instead of comparing your children, make sure you highlight their respective unique features. Help them grow into their own shoes. By comparing your children, you run the risk of showing favoritism and brewing resentment within each child.

To make sure that you acknowledge each child as the individual he or she is, make sure you sit down with each child periodically to help him or her set his or her own goals. Set your level of expectation for each child, as it relates to him or her.


Sibling rivalry needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. As a parent, you want to make sure that your children foster good relationships with one another and know how to work as a team. This will not only help create and develop a more nurturing environment, but will also help your children learn how to better socialize with others and handle conflicts and problems in the future.

You can learn more about parenting tips by attending parenting counseling sessions. Check out a clinic like Associated Psychologists & Counselors for more information.