Family Relationships: Getting Along With Siblings

January 16, 2020

Families come in all shapes and sizes. For parents that opt to have more than one child, their daily lives can get hectic with small children running around their home. These days only get crazier if your children don’t get along together. 

With so many developing children under the same roof, you’re no stranger to disagreements among your kids. Arguing, fighting, yelling, and teasing are common in a household where siblings are present. 

To minimize the perpetual war between your children, you have to teach them three essential skills:

We’ll explore each one below.

Communicating Properly

It may seem like getting your children to talk to each other, avoid loud arguments, and generally having an ordered home life can seem like an uphill battle for most parents. However, good communication will bring a lot of peace, quiet, and order to your household.

Your children won’t have excellent communication skills from the outset — you have to help guide and teach them how to communicate properly and with respect. Most parents have found that implementing a few rules for good communication can help:

  • When someone is talking, everyone else is listening — No talking over each other
  • “Inside voices” — No shouting
  • Always ask — for permission to go places, invite a friend over, borrow something, etc.
  • Family meetings — Issues that affect everyone can be discussed without fear of reprisal 
  • Direct communication — If someone is upset, have them talk to the person who upset them
  • Chore chart — No arguing about who does which chores

Lastly, encourage your child to talk to you if they feel like you give their siblings more attention. Teach them to be calm when expressing their feelings and bring them up when you have a few minutes to listen. Fostering an environment where they are encouraged to voice their opinions and concerns calmly will benefit them throughout their lives.

Showing Respect

It’s one thing to communicate well, but the conversation will end poorly if you say something that comes across the wrong way. Early on, teaching your children respect will help them interact with the world at large throughout their lives, starting with their siblings. Respect is another skill that will benefit your children as they grow. When your children learn to respect each other, they will get along much better.

Showing a child properly respecting someone else, much less their siblings, can seem like a daunting task. However, some specific skills and concepts will help them learn and master the concept of respect. Teach your children the following:

  • Good Manners
  • Encourage, don’t put down
  • No bullying
  • Do not use rude or foul language
  • Respect each other’s space
  • Ask for permission before borrowing someone’s belongings
  • No telling secrets about a sibling — Unless it’s to keep them safe
  • Do not invite yourself along; wait for a formal invitation

What it boils down to is “treating others how you want to be treated.” The Golden Rule has been around for generations and has staying power because it’s such a fundamental aspect of showing respect.


Arguments and disagreements will always represent an aspect of growing up with siblings. Good communication skills and respect will help make these blowups more manageable; however, a third skill will help — negotiation. Negotiation will be harder to teach your children than communication or respect because it involves trust.

That being said, negotiation skills build on those preceding skills. If you teach your children how to communicate with and respect each other, then teaching them negotiation will be easier. You’ll have had them building up trust in each other and in you, which will help form the educational foundation of their negotiation skills. 

Here are some things to teach your children:

  • Fairness — Tell your older children that deceiving their younger, more naive siblings is not ok 
  • Communicate — Communication is vital in coming to an agreement
  • Age doesn’t matter — Older siblings don’t have “more rights” than younger siblings
  • Compromise — The solution must work for everyone; if someone isn’t happy, then it’s not a good one

Other Ways to Help Your Children Get Along With Each Other

Aside from those three primary skills, you have a few other ways to teach your children how to get along with their siblings:

  • When something is agreed upon, each sibling must do what they said they would do on time
  • If siblings struggle to compromise, then they can bring adults into the situation
  • Unresolved issues should be brought up at a family meeting

You’ll have a happier, more cooperative family and a happier home by teaching your children these skills and ideas. Helping your children develop the necessary skills they need to get along and build better relationships with their siblings is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. 

Putting them in the right environment to learn these crucial skills is equally important. Enrolling your students at Right Steps Education will help them learn how to get along with their siblings and children outside of their families. Learn more about our available programs and resources today!

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