You know, there's a few things that really frost MamaBear's petunias.
One of them is sibling abuse.
Sibling abuse is a horrible secret in many families and, left unchecked, can truly scar your children with memories that will simply never ever disappear.
- Often, parents are either unaware of the abuse that's going on, or choose to downgrade the dangers of it. This gives the abuser more confidence to make their siblings' lives hell.
It can be very insidious as well! Skillful abusers will simply lie to their parents, and trusting parents, alas, will even turn around and blame the victim for making up stories. 🙁
This are some reasons why I am utterly insane about my kids treating each other great; I do not allow sibling rivalry, nor do I tolerate any meanness whatsoever.
It's funny, you know…other karate moms and dads just do not believe it when I mention how my kids get along and support one another. It's honestly not a difficult thing to do…but it *does* require reinforcement at all times.
Here's 4 ways to help prevent sibling abuse in your family.
1.) Make sure it's known that any abuse will result in the abuse being visited upon the perpetrator 3 times as hard.
Whenever one of my child was mean to another, I'd make certain their consequences were far more painful than what they did to their siblings.
If they said something cruel, I intensified that to the point the protagonist started to cry…and then comforted the kid, wait for the tears to dry, and ask, "Did that feel good? No? Why was it acceptable then for you to make your brother/sister feel that way?" and continue with other ways of handling the initial situation.
Yes, it was draining. Tremendously so. But generally, such things happened only once or perhaps twice, and never again.
Being forced to experience the pain they inflict is a great way to teach children *not* to be cruel.
2.) Refuse to compare siblings in the same activity.
There has been several times in the past that HS1 and HS2 asked me to tell them which one was "better" or which one was "more skilled" etc.etc.etc.
I utterly refused to pass judgment.
It was the same thing for my girls – when they were younger, they'd occasionally ask the same thing to no avail. Now that they're older, mind you, and patterns have been set, I don't mind commenting on their various works; there's no ego/"I'm better than you, nyah!" involved.
It's taken awhile, but HS1 and HS2 now no longer ask. Instead, they help each other out.
3.) Always insist that each sibling cheer the other ones on!
This is a biggie in my family.
Cheering sections rock!
Whenever one of my kids has "done right good!" in school/what have you, all the other siblings will proactively congratulate him or her.
And if they forget to, I remind them rather rapidly indeed. 🙂
It becomes second nature and is burned into their souls. There is no negativity, no jealousy (well, generally no jealousy….HS2 still labors under the 'younger child' syndrome but hey, we're working on it. 🙂 ), no bad feelings at all.
4.) Always let each child have one thing *only* she or he does.
I've seen families where when one child excels at a sport or activity, another child simply *has* to participate and show up said kid.
That's horrible beyond belief to me.
Now, if both siblings honestly enjoy the activity with no "one upsmanship" involved, certainly…they can both tackle it together.
After all, all 4 kids plus MamaBear take karate together!
But! If the sole reason why one child wants to join in an activity is merely to crush their siblings' self-confidence…forget it.
That's why I allowed only HD2 to take sais at karate – that was possibly going to be *her* weapon of choice (HD1 does swords). Alas, HD2 lost interest and now focuses on Aikido. These things happen.
* * * * * *
Remember. Your children will learn what's accepted…and what's not…regarding their interactions by how *you* view and accept them.
Foster *love* between your children…not envy.
It will go lightyears towards preventing sibling abuse.