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Handling Sibling Rivalry

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:34pm
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Sibling rivalry can develop for many reasons. In some cases it's due to the personalities of the children, but other times children may feel jealous. For example, if one sibling is really good at playing sports or is really good at school, but the other one struggles with these things.

Some sibling rivalry is to be expected.  If you had two best friends living together in the same house they would have some conflict and arguments from time to time.

The goal then is not to try to prevent sibling rivalry, but helping your children deal with any issues that arise between then in a constructive way.

If the rivalry takes the form of physical fighting between the children, it is very important for children to know that there is a "no hurting" rule, as opposed to just saying, "no pinching" or "no grabbing." Let them know right away that you won't tolerate that behaviour by saying, "we don't hurt anyone in this family."

If the children are arguing constantly, letting them work things out on their own is good in many cases. But be ready to step in when these little arguments start turning into long-standing issues. New research shows that children can suffer immensely if verbal taunts and threats by brothers and sisters go on and on.

To keep things peaceful, try to give each child one-on-one attention at least part of each day. This will make each child feel that she is still special to you.

Don’t compare your children. Sometimes parents fuel sibling rivalry by using one child as an example to the other. They ask, “Why can’t you listen like your brother?” or “Why can’t you have a clean room like your sister?”  This tends to create resentment rather than be helpful.  Let your children know that it is okay to be different.

When jealousy rears its ugly head, it's important not to blame one child or the other. Encourage the children to talk about their feelings of envy and jealousy. It's not going to be easy, but try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say in these situations. Try to emphasize the strengths of each individual child.

Share the consequences – When there is an issue that you are brought into, don’t take sides. Ask each child for their side of the story without any interruptions.  Ask the children what they think the solution is and, if it is reasonable, support their solution.  If they can’t come up with a solution you can proceed with a couple of options.

  1. Ask the children to work out a solution, and until they do, they are not allowed to do anything else.
  2. Come up with a solution yourself, but make sure that both of the children are involved.  Don’t give a consequence to just one child.  Remember it takes “two to tango.”  

Have you children apologize when they do something wrong. Saying I’m sorry is critical to the maintenance of loving relationships.  It says that “I care that I hurt you or upset you.”  At the end of any issue, have your child apologize to the other.  If both are involved in “causing” the issue they should both apologize.  If they are not ready, ask them to sit quietly until they are, even if it takes a while.  Finally, make sure the tone is right, an angry, “I’m sorry,” does not convey the right message.  

 

Is there jealousy or rivalry between your children? What have you done to manage the conflict between them? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

 

 

 

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Comfort, Play & Teach and your preschooler’s social development

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 10:53am
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Every day, there are plenty of opportunities to use Comfort, Play & Teach: A Positive Approach to Parenting. The following examples from our experts show how you can support the social development of your preschooler while doing your routine errands. 

Give your child a special responsibility, such as choosing which kinds of fruit you buy. Letting your preschooler express his independence is comforting to him and helps him gain confidence and a stronger sense of self. 

When you get back home, play pretend games with your child to give him a chance to explore in more detail some of things you have done on your errands. For example, take turns pretending you are the post-office clerk and costumer, and help your child think of what he would say in these situations to help him practice different types of social interactions. 

Teach your child some valuable pro-social skills by encouraging him to carry a small bag for you, asking him to help you keep an eye on his little sister, and showing him how to put his used wrappers, juice bottles, etc. in garbage cans and recycling bins.

 

Did you use any of these strategies with your preschooler? How well did they work? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

 

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Helping your toddler overcome his fears

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 02:23pm
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When you comfort your frightened child, you are helping him feel safe. This sense of security gives him the courage he needs to eventually face and conquer his fears. It's normal for all youngsters to be afraid of something at one point or another, whether it's thunder, large dogs, bees, the dark or imaginary things such as ugly monsters under the bed. And some children's temperaments make them naturally more fearful than others.

Here are some things to consider when you are comforting your fearful child.

  1. Even if you don't really understand what your child is afraid of, or you don't think it's something that should frighten her, remember that the fear is very real to her, so deal with it seriously. Never belittle the fear as a way of forcing her to overcome it. For example, it won't help matters if you say, "Don't be ridiculous! It's just a clown."
  2. It's important to talk to your child about his fears. Words have a way of taking some of the power out of negative emotions and making them more manageable for young children.
  3. No child should be forced into dealing with something she is afraid of before she is ready. When you feel she can handle it, gently encourage your child to confront a fear by gradually exposing her to what she finds frightening. For example, if your toddler is afraid of the sound the vacuum cleaner makes, let her touch it when it is turned off, or have someone else turn on the vacuum while you hold and comfort her. Gradually, she will become less afraid as her feelings of safety and security increase.
  4. If you show excessive concern when your child is upset, you may unintentionally reinforce your child's fears, giving him the impression that there really is something to be afraid of. Sometimes just providing age-appropriate information in a calm and reassuring tone can be helpful. For example, you might say, "That's a very loud noise, isn't it? It's an ambulance. It must be on its way to help someone."
  5. Prepare your child for things you expect will frighten her. For example, if you're visiting a friend who has a dog, tell your child about the dog before you arrive, reassuring her that the dog is friendly and gentle and really likes children. Give her the opportunity to talk about any concerns she has in advance, and together you can develop a plan to help her cope when she eventually encounters the source of her fear. Maybe you'll both pat the dog together, or she'll offer him a biscuit to show that she's his friend.
  6. Keep reminding your child of the things that he is no longer afraid of. This will help him feel empowered, and he'll realize that it's possible to overcome other fears, too. Learning to deal with fear is an important part of growing up and can greatly increase your child's confidence. Therefore, you play a big role in gently and gradually helping your child confront and overcome his fears. But remember, let him work up to it. And if he gets upset, comfort him, hold him calmly and reassure him that he'll be OK.

 

Is your toddler ever fearful? What strategies do you use to help your child overcome his fears? Leave a comment and share your story with other parents.

 

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How do preschoolers learn to share?

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 05:33pm
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Trying to get your preschooler to share? Sometimes it seems impossible and sometimes they surprise you with their generosity!

Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn't expect a child to really understand "sharing" until age four.

It's not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child's point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it's okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Preschoolers are at the next stage. They spend a fair amount of their playtime working out who will have what, who will do what and who can play. This is normal - it's how they practice the social skills needed for friendships. At this stage, children are better able to exchange both ideas and toys. They like to give and take

If by age four your child still doesn't cooperate with others, and is hostile, it's best to get some help. Consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.

 

How do you encourage your preschooler to share? Leave a comment below and let us know!

 

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