Conflict between brothers and sisters is inevitable but positive - and should not cause parents anxiety - as it is a life training ground for establishing good relationships with others. This is supported by Scalari, psychologist, psychotherapist, psychosocioanalyst, author of numerous essays (on the subject she wrote with F. Berto, Being brothers. Scontri e encounters, Armando Editore).
The classic jealousy between children (boys or girls, it doesn't matter) hides the difficulty of accepting that the relationship with mom and dad cannot be unique and exclusive.
Everything stems from a desire for possession: every child does not want to 'share' the parents with his brother or sister but cannot take it out on them, so he 'vents' his emotions towards the other. The typical competition in everyday life, therefore, as the psychologist Scalari explains, is triggered precisely for this deeper reason and it is good to keep this in mind.
In other words, fights are physiological and are not a sign of low affection between siblings: even when they tease each other (almost) all the time, they actually love each other.
However, mum and dad can foster the development of a good relationship between brothers and sisters, and make them grow together, avoiding some behaviors that can push them away. Here are four 'guide' tips to avoid the most common mistakes.
1 Don't intervene when children argue
According to the psychologist, it is very important to let brothers and sisters resolve their conflicts on their own. “Children find their measures and intervention in favor of one or the other contributes instead to increase jealousy. But even punishing everyone in the same way is not a good strategy because it is perceived as unfair, ”says Scalari.
A very common mistake among parents is then to act as judges by setting up a sort of trial, which goes on indefinitely, to determine who started the dispute. Such an attitude is counterproductive and leads nowhere. From the expert's point of view, the best approach is instead to invite the children to fend for themselves by seeking an agreement and then referring it to the adult.
2 When a child hits his brother or sister, try to calm him down in a quiet tone and never scream
If a child often uses his hands against the other, it means that he is really very angry and unleashes himself against the weakest. Attention, however, does not mean that he does not love his brother or sister, in reality his anger could be towards mom and dad.
At the moment, faced with the concrete episode, it is appropriate to invite the child who is hitting his brother to stop what he is doing and calm him by speaking in a calm tone.
“There is no need to tell him 'you don't have to do that' but it is very important to show understanding and to contain him in a calm manner. He never responds to anger by screaming, ”says the psychologist.
When the situation is repeated often, according to the expert, the parent should question and question himself since the violent action is a symptom of fear and anxiety of abandonment.
“The violent child is scared to death by the idea of 'not being seen' and blames someone, his brother or sister - explains Scalari. This can happen because he has not been helped enough in his evolution and needs to spend more time with his parents ".
It is essential to reassure him and help him overcome the fear that his parents will disappear.
A good way to do this is to chat with him, pick him up from school once more, and share time and games.
"Until the end of the primary, games and fairy tales, to be read aloud together in the evening, are effective and precious tools to dilute these emotions of every child", says the psychologist.
3 Doing the same things as your brother or sister for a while is good - it helps develop empathy
Sometimes, for the psychologist, it is precisely the observations and inappropriate interventions of the parents that divide the children. If the eldest, for example, who is perhaps already in middle school, starts playing with his little brother (or sister), it is not good to say something like: "But you are now too old for this game!".
Similarly, if the child still asks for a bottle and a pacifier - now abandoned for some time - or to sleep next to his mother because he sees his little brother or sister doing it, it shouldn't be a problem.
In general, similar attitudes, in which the baby seems to come back smaller, indicate that those progresses have cost him a lot of effort.
“These episodes of regression are a great opportunity to re-experience a situation but it does not mean losing the skills already acquired - explains the psychologist Scalari. Going back simply reassures the child a little, and is a kind of therapy, so it's good to let him do it ”.
After a while, to help him (without anxiety) regain his habits, it is enough to support him with a calm and positive attitude. "Riccardo, I know that you like ice cream more than milk in a bottle, eh ... because you are big!".
In any case, it is a positive sign, explains the psychologist: “Identifying oneself with the small is a way to understand it. In fact, putting oneself in the other's place means feeling empathy: a three-four-year-old child does it concretely ".
Even in the opposite case, when it is the younger child who wants to imitate the big one, it is not correct to block him immediately because he is 'small'. According to the psychologist, it is appropriate to encourage these moments. "Well, I like that you play together, here are some pens for you even if you don't know how to write yet!".
4 Indulge the complicity of your children and do not oppose them when they make a 'gang'
In the relationship between brothers or sisters, there comes a time when children 'gang up' against their parents, despite, perhaps, the difference in age. The case of hiding the pranks is typical: "Let's take another piece of chocolate together!", "Let's tell mom that the cat broke the vase" ...
“Making a common front becomes a sort of glue, and lays the foundations of that solidarity that lasts a lifetime - explains the psychotherapist Scalari. It is essential not to oppose these behaviors, on the contrary, parents should read the creativity behind all this, based on the age of the children ".If in the middle of primary school, for example, children make up signs because they want a computer, that is a positive 'riot'. Even later, when they are older, brothers and sisters can get together to obtain special permission or a particular concession. This sense of complicity should be supported because it is a positive part of the relationship between children. Here's what could happen when they become adults: 10 PHOTOS
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On the other hand, a sort of 'division' between mum and dad in the care of children that does not create solidarity should be avoided.: “You take care of the little one and I take care of the big!”. Of course, it is possible to take turns, but mum and dad have to share every aspect of their children's education and life together.
This means being present but without worrying too much about 'normal' daily conflicts: "the brother is the privileged witness of the other's life, he is not comparable to friendship, and the bond remains so even through different or conflicting emotions", concludes Scalari. .
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Updated on 27.02.2022TAG:
- united brothers
- 3-5 children years