Episode 064: 3 Ways You Can Help Your Kids Be Friends For Life

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This month we’ve been talking about how the strong-willed child can affect the relationships in our own home. One of the relationships that can be affected is the sibling relationship. Today we talk with Child and Family Studies major, Laura Tesch to learn how she helps her six kids develop friendships that will last a lifetime. LISTEN ABOVE OR READ THE SUMMARY BELOW Laura Tesch Why it’s important for siblings to be close It helps the home feel more peaceful-I think every parent wants their home to be a peaceful and happy place. If you can help foster close sibling relationships, that will help decrease the tension between your kids. It is important to remember, that siblings will only get along about 50% of the time. That is normal and healthy. The sibling relationship is one of the longest lasting human relationships each of us will have- Friends will come and go, even cousins will come and go. One day parents will pass away. But siblings, are there from the minute you are born and throughout most of you life. Wouldn’t it be great if the people you knew the longest were also close friends? Siblings can offer love and support that kids need- Life can be harsh and very challenging. We all need people who will believe in us, cheer us on, see the best in us, and support us in hard times. Siblings can be some of the best people to do this for us. Tips for fostering positive sibling relationships Tip #1 Talk about your sibling relationships A really great, non-lecturing way to teach your kids about the value of sibling relationships is to talk about how important your sibling relationships are to you. Some ways you can do this are: Share happy memories you made with your siblings If your sibling called you, tell your child and tell them what that meant to you Schedule times to be with your siblings Let your family know if one of your siblings is struggling and ask them to keep that sibling in their thoughts Show your kids pictures of you and your siblings Call your siblings on their birthdays, have the kids be involved in the phone call Help your siblings when they need help, take the kids along to teach them that family supports each other Attend your siblings events if they participate in any What if you don’t have close sibling relationships? Talk to your children about how sad you are that you don’t have a close friendship with your siblings. Let them know what it would mean to you to be close to your brothers or sisters. Tip #2 Help your children be aware of each other’s feelings One of the most important roles we have as parents is something called “Emotional Coaching”. Emotional Coaching “Emotional Coaching is a term coined by researcher and marriage therapist Jon Gottman. His research shows that kids need their parents to teach them how to be aware of their own emotions and the emotions of others. This is done by simply stating what emotions you see your kids experiencing when they are experiencing them. For example: If your child looks sad, say “You are looking sad.” If your child made a mistake and is disappointed, say “You’re disappointed that you made that mistake.” If your child is laughing, say “You thought that was funny. You look so happy!” This process helps children begin to identify what they are feeling and attach the feeling to a specific emotion. When children become more aware of their own emotions, they can start to learn to manage them and they can become more aware of other’s emotions. The home is the perfect place to practice We want our children to be aware of and sensitive to the feelings of those around them at work, at school, and in relationships. The perfect place to practice is at home. But they will need your help at first. How to start teaching your child to recognize and be sensitive to their siblings emotions Whenever there is an altercation of some sort bet...

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