March 29th, 2019
ACPeds Parent Talk

Keeping parents up to date on the latest news in child and teen health
Health Benefits of Siblings and Dealing with Sibling Rivalry
In a recent study , researchers found that “sibling relationships influence children’s adjustment and development about as much as parenting does.”
Not only that, additional research has shown that having siblings can (1) protect children against obesity , (2) positively influence a child's academic achievement , (3) buffer the effects of family conflict , and (4) help children develop empathy .
While the above research seems to suggest that when it comes to siblings, the more the merrier; the reality is that while a sibling can be a child’s best friend, at times a child may consider his own sibling a worst enemy. In fact, research suggests that sibling rivalry can lead to bullying and eventually long-term mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
So how can you ensure that your children reap the benefits of having each other as siblings while avoiding the potential costs?
Tips for Encouraging Healthy Sibling Relationships
Often times, sibling rivalry stems from needing attention. When you're confronted by one of your children who seems to want you to choose sides, try empathy. Listen to the child's complaints against his siblings but don't encourage the negativity. Instead, validate the child's feelings and help him come up with a win-win solution to the problem.
Create opportunities for your child to share memorable experiences . Family road trips, walks to the park, or family game night are great ways to encourage bonding between siblings and to foster family connectedness.

Avoid vocally comparing your children in front of their siblings . Instead, focus on recognizing the unique strengths of each of your children and encourage them to celebrate their differences as well as their similarities.
Spend quality alone time with each of your children . It's not uncommon for a parent to bond easily with a particular sibling because of shared interests. But even when it seems like there aren't any shared interests between you and one of your children, do some digging to find one anyway or figure out how you can create one.

Each of your children needs to know that they are individually loved and appreciated by their parents--no favorites allowed!

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