Sibling Conflict- What To Do If Your Family Has Fallen Victim To It

My sons are adults now but I still look back on those days when they were growing up together and often have to laugh at some of the things they did.  Yes, there was a lot of sibling conflict.  I remember one incident when they both wanted to sit in the front passenger seat of the car, so they raced each other to the car.  One of them got in first and tried to lock the doors with the automatic lock but couldn’t in time.  The other, in turn, tried to keep the door open at the same time as taking control of the automatic lock.  Needless to say, the back and forth between them and the lock caused all the locks in the car to stop working!

Sibling rivalry!  Just what can we do about it?  Based on my research and personal experiences, there are many things that parents can do.  First, encourage your children to be friends, not competitors.  I think that this is harder to do if you have children of the same gender as they often want to outdo each other, especially boys.  Suggest acts of kindness and helpfulness that they can do for each other.  Talk to them about your personal relationships with your siblings and how it is important for your children to have close relationships too.

Also, help each child to develop his/her unique gifts and talents.  Each child is exceptional and your child’s special abilities should be supported.  For my sons, my older son is an athlete and my youngest son has artistic talents, including music and drawing.  We spent some of our time at athletic events, and other time at music lessons.

Some other clever suggestions are: have the older sibling who is arguing pay to the younger sibling $1; if they tell different versions of an argument, have them stay in a room until they come up with the true version; or have them go to separate corners of a room and yell out “I love you” back and forth 20 times as this will get the anger out of them and focus on their relationship as siblings. 


Getting Our Boys to Read More

MY son, James, with his first book.

Many parents talk about the difficulties they have in getting their sons to read more.  They complain about the fact that reading is seen as being nerdy and it’s challenging to find books that boys like.  In classrooms, teachers often seem at a loss as to how to encourage the boys to read more.  Many just don’t know about the plethora of subjects that boys like to read about and what books are available.  

 I’m a mother of two sons and understand those sentiments.  However, I profoundly believe that parents should be determined and assertive in fostering the good habit of reading in their children.  My late husband and I were good role models for our sons because we read a lot, individually and as a family.  I often would go to my sons’ schools to speak to teachers if I believed reading wasn’t being encouraged enough and suggested good books for the students.  We even purchased books for a school’s library to encourage reading.  

 Now with the internet, there is so much information available and even websites dedicated to boys reading such as so there is no excuse.  Don’t just sit back and expect your children, especially boys, to develop the love of reading.  Find out what subjects they are interested in and then go and look for books on those subjects.  If your son is interested in robots for example, actively search for books on robots.  I found that my sons loved reading books about intergalactic wars and soon found that many came in wonderful series.  We visited bookstores and libraries to get as many books in various series as we could.  

I would love to hear what you have done to encourage your children to read, especially your sons.  Please let me know.