Nearly 40 percent of marriages end in divorce.
That is a hard fact to swallow!
The subject of today is not divorce. The focus is on “how to help your kids get along with each other”. More importantly,
- “How to help your kids get along with their step-siblings”.
- “Helping your kids stop fighting and arguing with their step-siblings”.
- “How to help my daughter or son get along with their older step-sister”.
Before we dive further into strategies that you, an awesome parent, can implement. Please be aware of something that you already know. “Parenting is not easy”.
With that in mind, take a deep inhale and exhale. If possible work to give yourself space to be your genuine you while removing the pressure of feeling that you have to have everything perfect. Kids will be kids. Some days they will love each other, and others they will share with you that they can’t stand their sibling because they took their toy or game. Try to enjoy the ride.
What is a blended family?
The term “blended family” has its own definition. I personally like to think of it as blending ingredients when preparing cookies or a cake. It is difficult at first and then all of a sudden once you work through it becomes easier. A blended family often includes parents that bring in children from previous relationships.
The most important advice I can give in parenting your kids
1. Be patient
Parents are often anxious and really eager to move the family in a positive direction. You, as the parent, may really want your kids and the entire family to quickly transition into family-related activities: board game night; movie night; or a family outing. In your mind, these activities are often the answer.
Practice patience by working to discover the similarities and common interests between the kids. Once you have a strong idea of the common interest, present the interest in a format of activities. For instance, you may take them shopping; go to the batting cages or a movie.
If the activity is not one of common interest, the kids may feel “pushed, forced, and uncomfortable”.
A supportive book to help with parenting and raising awesome kids is How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk.
A great book for parents wanting to connect with their kids or to communicate lessons that create connection and understanding between a parent and child. How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, helps parents find the missing pieces. Much of what is discussed in the book, is taken from counseling sessions.
Remember, your goal as the parent is to create a family system in which your kids are getting along and basically everyone is getting along.
Now, remember that you can NOT do this ALONE.
Involve your kids in the process by letting them know what is going on. Hopefully, you have already engaged in open and frank communication prior to joining the family. If not, section out a time to engage with your child.
Going back to “common interest”. Instead of running the show, ask your kids what activities they enjoy doing in an activity format. For instance:
Step 1: Ask your kids to sit with you in a quiet and distraction-free location. Maybe at a coffee shop or at home when it’s just you and the kids.
Step 2: Ask the kids to write down ten of their favorite things to do.
Step 3: Gather each of the things that they like to do and find a common interests.
Step 4: Once you have identified a common interest, create an activity around it with their permission.
You could say:
So I noticed that you and your brother both wrote down enjoying going to the movies, playing Xbox One, and going to the Polo Outlet. Great! How about this weekend we all go to the Polo Outlet at noon? Each of you can have $XXX amount to spend. Is it a plan? Yes, or No…
Your child has experienced what can be a “traumatic experience” because they went from one environment and way of life to another. Often, the experience was not their choice. Due to this reason, it is important for you, as parents, to truly listen and communicate with your child.
- Ask your child if they want to spend time with their biological parent.
- Ask your child if they want to hang out with their friends at their previous location.
Work to maintain connections in the past environment that your child enjoyed and that were healthy. For instance, if your child was involved in a local sports team.
Utilize what you have learned from the three sections above (patience, family inclusion, and not forcing your child in the transition).
If your kids are having a difficult time getting along with each other and you have as a parent exhausted your strategy book, seek external support. There are so many awesome counselors that can truly jump right in and assist your family. Counselors are able to teach parents new effective strategies that can provide the changes parents and families are searching for.
To book your first counseling appointment with call 336-663-6570
Cover images: Annie spratt; Abigail Keenan; Joshua clay
Books that can help parents connect with their kids and improve step-sibling relationships:
How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk
A great book for parents struggling to connect with their kids or to communicate lessons that create connection and understanding between a parent and child. I continue to recommend this book over and over due to what my parents tell me.
How To Talk So Kids Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, helps parents find the missing pieces. Much of what is discussed in the book, is taken from counseling sessions.
For instance, if you are struggling with understanding and coping with setting limits and boundaries the book helps you stick to it through the application, education, and strategy. The book highlights the following core areas of parenting: setting limits and boundaries, effective communication, positive talk, supportive talk, praise, cooperation with your child, and establishing a parent-child relationship. Fun fact, these are some of the core areas that bring people to seek family counseling or parenting support.
A great self-help parenting book.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.
The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively
The author Gary Chapman is well known for the development of the 5 love languages. The languages work to help people understand how they desire to receive and provide love. In the secret to loving children effectively, the author takes a unique approach that helps parents learn how to effectively connect with their kids.
For parents wanting to help their kids improve step-sibling relationships, the book can be useful. There are lots of tools and applicable tips aimed to help parents understand how to effectively show up for their kids, love their children, and create a healthy level of understanding and respect.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the book.
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