Test Your Sibling Knowledge

How much do you know about sibling relationships? Lisa and I pass out this little quiz during our parent-child workshops. Give it a whirl and look for the answers below.

1. How often do siblings typically quarrel in one hour?

a)      Once

b)      Twice

c)      Three times

d)      Much more

2. What’s your take on sibling fighting?

a)      It drives me crazy

b)      It serves a purpose

c)      Siblings should love each other (period.)

d)      It’s something I’m doing wrong

3. I’d describe my role (when it comes to my childrens’ relationship with one another) as:

a)      Referee

b)      Dictator

c)      Teacher

d)      Playmate

4. When your kids start to fight, you

a)      Wait

b)      Run out the house

c)      Start yelling

d)      Scream “Stop!”

5. How can you decrease sibling rivalry?

a)      Don’t compare your kids

b)      Don’t reward tattling

c)      Avoid competitive games

d)      All of the above

6. What leads to adult siblings having a close relationship? The mom…

a)      Didn’t allow for any fighting or bickering

b)      Forced them to love each other

c)      Eliminated all forms of competition

d)      Allowed for fun interactions

7. What do your children want most?

a)      Their own room

b)       Attention

c)      To feel unique and special

d)      To be first and the best

1. C. They spend lots of time together, conflict will naturally occur. Its normal, natural and even valuable as they learn social skills such as negiotiation, compromise, how to lead, how to follow and how to resolve conflicts.

2. B. See above.

3. C. It’s not A because you don’t want to pick sides. It’s not B because trying to force anything usually works against you. It’s not D – although playing with your children is important, ultimately you want them to be able to initiate play with each other without your intervention. It’s C. You are their ultimate teacher and role model.

4. A. You’d be surprised if left to their own devices, kids can resolve their own conflicts. You need to intervene when the kids are very young (non-verbal) or when there is yelling or hitting. Otherwise, take a vacation in your mind.

5. D. Try not to compare children by saying things like “Your brother never acts that way” or “If your sister can do it, why can’t you?” Holding one child up as the model and using that model to encourage better behavior is a sure way to create resentment and diviseness. Rewarding tattling creates a division between sibilngs. Don’t encourage it.  Avoid competitive games.  Show your children games are about playing, learning and having fun.

6. D. A leading sibling expert found that siblings who have warm adult relationships had more good times together than bad. In the end, parents should worry less about how they break up sibling fights and more about how  their children are able to have fun together.

7. A & C. Yeah, we know they’d really love B & D! Take time for one on one time with each of your children. It can be simple – 10 minutes together before bedtime reading a story or talking about the day. Recognize what makes them special and unique.

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