Parenting is a multifaceted and challenging endeavor, and when you have multiple children, the complexity of the task increases. Establishing trust with each child is essential, but it is equally vital to foster positive relationships among them. Unfortunately, certain inherited phrases can unwittingly become obstacles, causing confusion and conflict.
In our quest to promote genuine happiness and friendship among siblings, we embarked on identifying harmful phrases that are best avoided while raising children. By refraining from using these expressions, we can prevent unnecessary competition and cultivate a harmonious environment for our kids.
“Take your sister or brother as an example.”
While it may appear that comparing children to others can be a source of motivation, the unintended message conveyed is that their sibling is more loved and they are somehow inferior. This can breed feelings of resentment and jealousy, ultimately causing long-term self-esteem issues and fostering unhealthy competition. Moreover, such comparisons may prompt a child to resort to dishonest tactics in order to gain an advantage in the present.
“Look after your younger sibling.”
It’s recommended to ask the older kids to look after the younger siblings only when there is a significant difference in age. But you’d better keep in mind that this activity shouldn’t become a duty of the elder kid, as they aren’t supposed to replace parents completely. Ideally, it should be a self-manifestation of love or work that will be paid for with either money or gifts.
“You must love them.”
The arrival of a new baby in the family can bring about stress for older siblings, as conflicting emotions and feelings of jealousy begin to emerge. Attempting to make the older children love the new addition simply based on their familial connection can exacerbate feelings of rejection. A more effective approach is to intentionally set aside special one-on-one time with the older sibling. It is important to acknowledge and validate their emotions, reassuring them that it is natural to feel that way. Additionally, it is essential to acknowledge and commend moments when they show care and affection towards their younger sibling.
“You are older, be smarter, and concede.”
Constantly favoring the younger sibling’s perspective and imposing an expectation for the older sibling to consistently endure and concede can have detrimental effects. It not only hinders the development of a healthy sibling relationship but also poses personal challenges for the older child. The burden of excessive responsibility and ongoing pressure can result in the older sibling growing up to be less optimistic and more anxious, striving for perfection and seeking constant approval. This can make it difficult for them to establish and maintain friendships.
“So, who’s gonna get ready first?”
Another detrimental habit observed among parents is openly fostering competition between their children. When kids are constantly compared to each other, one child inevitably feels disadvantaged. Moreover, encouraging open competitiveness among siblings leads to negative outcomes, leaving everyone feeling anxious. Competition, in the context of sibling relationships, is not merely a game for children. The emotions tied to winning or losing can be intense. Instead, it is more suitable to promote a sense of teamwork rather than rivalry. One effective approach is to assume the role of a third player who willingly takes on the position of the one who loses, fostering a cooperative dynamic among the siblings.
“Stop being angry,” or “Deal with it.”
Not only does banning emotions perpetuate worry and leave the issue unsolved, but it also makes things worse in general. Even adults have to work through their inner conflicts from time to time. Instead of prohibiting your kids from feeling angry, it’s better to listen to them, say that their feelings are normal, and help them figure things out. In order to reduce the number of conflicts they face, try to outline teamwork and mutual help between kids and praise them for it.
“I love you all equally.”
Every individual has their own unique qualities, making it vital for those around us to acknowledge and appreciate our strengths. Saying, “I love you equally,” implies that none of the children possess any distinctive traits. Instead, it is more beneficial to celebrate their differences and commend each child for their unique talents. By doing so, every child will feel valued and cherished, understanding that they are special and precious in their own way.
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