You want your kids to do more than just get along with each other. You want them to be best friends.
Teaching kids to love and respect each other begins by laying a strong foundation while they’re still young. And foundations are built on clear-cut rules and principles, such as the importance of being honest. Strong families have to be able to trust each other without question.
It also requires each sibling to speak to each other with respect. Under no circumstances should they be allowed to call each other names or say that their sibling is stupid. This needs to be modelled by the parents. The old adage, ‘if you haven’t got anything nice to say then keep your mouth closed’, is imperative. The home needs to be a haven where kids can be themselves, without threat.
It’s also important to respect each other’s privacy. Kids need to know that home is a safe place to be — a place where they feel comfortable and secure. That means no rummaging through each other’s things or “borrowing” them without permission.
Learning to forgive and forget is another critical principle. We all make mistakes and a little compassion goes a long way toward building a strong family bond.
For more great thoughts on raising kids, click on the www.families.org.au