Can siblings team up? Certainly yes, and this contributes to making families more united and stronger. But what is the secret of a peaceful and happy coexistence?
The "secret" is how parents talk to their children, how they resolve conflicts, give homework and support children as a team, while also leaving them alone at the right time. The German writer explains it Nicola Schmidt in the book Brothers Who Team Up. Tips and strategies to make your family stronger (translated by Valentina Freschi and Marco Bonciani, Erickson Editore).
Nicola Schmidt is a journalist, author of books and lecturer. You write scientific articles for newspapers and online magazines on topics related to developmental psychology and evolutionary and behavioral biology. She is a member of the "World Association for Infant Mental Health" (WAIMH) and the Initiative Babyfreundlich.org.
We interviewed Nicola to ask her a little more about her book and to get some valid suggestions.Read also: How to raise siblings united, 4 principles GUIDE to parents
- Being brothers, how important is it to have a brother or a sister ?,
- There are families, as you say, in which brothers do not quarrel with each other: what is the secret of peaceful coexistence?
- How can parents help their children not to quarrel?
- Practical tips to help parents get their children together
Being brothers - how important is it to have a brother or sister?
“Having siblings can have many advantages, but also many disadvantages. Ideally, the brothers soon learn to negotiate, share, get along. They always have someone to play with, someone to protect them and they can protect. They learn responsibility, teamwork and trust. But this only works if we parents accompany them well.
In the worst case, siblings may not be able to develop their personality properly because one child dominates or oppresses the other, because parents prefer one of them or put him in a fixed role ("You are the little one", "Mathematics is not for you", etc.).
I could never say that it is better or worse to have brothers. But if we have more children, It is good to know that we can offer them lots of gifts for life, if we ourselves know how to do it. In the book I have written many tips on how to "take the right path" with children who are very young siblings and how to deal with older children, which could be more difficult. "
There are families, as you say, in which brothers do not quarrel with each other: what is the secret of peaceful coexistence?
"There are three things parents should never do:
- Never compare children! Sometimes, for example, we say, "Look, your brother has already put on his shoes!" But the comparison is "the end of happiness", as Kierkegaard says. If we constantly evaluate children, we generate quarrels between them.
- Never judge a child and do not take sides: we are not referees or judges. Parents should be coaches and mediators, especially in the case of a quarrel between two children who do not yet speak the same language. Never ask, for example, "What does that guy want?", But always "What do you need to get along with him?".
- And third, never lose control. Children must be taught how to resolve conflicts calmly and strategically rather than with violence and screams. "
How can parents help children not to fight?
"We need to change our questions, telling them, for example, 'Hey, I hear screams, how can I help you?' We stop our anger, if necessary by separating the children when they argue and waiting for them to calm down. In the meantime, we don't get nervous and don't scold them.
First of all we must learn to listen without judging: what does each of us feel? What happened? We will hear two completely different stories, but it doesn't matter because we are not judges, we are just coaches. Isn't that wonderful? We don't have to find out who started the fight! We just want to know how to put the two fighters back together.
So let's give them a lesson in empathy by defining the situation: "Okay, you are angry because you wanted to play alone" or "You are frustrated because you are bored and you can't have fun", for example. And only then do we also offer some solutions or ask the children (older children): "What can we do so that you / you can / can continue to play in peace and I can cook dinner?". The children will tell us what they need. It will take some time at first, but it is worth doing as they will soon learn how to resolve conflicts and then use this technique when they are alone. 'Read also: Do you have two children? The second could become a "delinquent"
Practical tips to help parents get their children together (thus making the family stronger and more united)
Here are tips to help parents get their children together, according to Nicola Schmidt:
- «Learn to breathe and calm down, so that you can safely go to the children while they are arguing, helping them to resolve the conflict.
- Learn not to take conflicts personally. Children don't want to annoy their parents, they just need to learn to live peacefully together.
- Play a lot with your kids: this strengthens the cooperation between the various family members. Simple ball games, even once a day, are great!
- Create separate spaces where each child can retreat, even it is just an armchair with a personal blanket.
- Spend special time with each child. Just 30 minutes a week or a shared project can work wonders!
- Create joint projects that only work if you do them together: Bake cakes, wash your car, go hiking and camping.
- Tell your children how happy you are that they are brothers. Tell them once a day. And if the children are extremely annoying, tell them twice a day. '