Learn how to raise close siblings who are friends. Reduce the rivalry and grow your families mental strength with these parenting tips.
When mental strength is mentioned, the mind automatically thinks of it as a term to describe an individual person.
You might picture the person pulling through the last leg of a marathon while their body wants to give up. You may imagine a college student staying up all-hours of the night to ace their biology exam. Or maybe you are thinking about an exhausted mom, pulling herself out of bed to go to work after being up all night with a teething baby.
While these are all good examples, there is another form of mental strength that you may have overlooked. It is the collective power of a group, unit, or family.
How can Parents Raise Close Siblings?
Mental strength is the ability to find inner peace, work towards goals, and overcome challenges when faced with discomfort. This definition hold true for the mental strength of a family.
A study from the University of Nebraska, on the characteristics of strong families, recognized six major qualities that strong families share. These qualities contributed to the happiness and strength of the family:
- Commitment- family members put each other first
- Appreciation- regularly show they appreciate each other
- Communication- talk about both big and small issues openly
- Time together– plan deliberate time together
- Spiritual wellness– have similar values and beliefs
- Crisis and stress– can cope with problems and challenges
That all sounds obvious enough, but some days I can’t even remember if I brushed my kid’s teeth. How do you, as a parent, even remember, let alone instill all these values into your daily life.
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Family Exercises that Build Mental Strength
Similar to physical strength, you have to put in a little work to build your family’s mental strength.
Regularly do these 5 “exercises” to empower resilience and strengthen your family bond.
1) Make Family Time a Priority
Strong, loving relationships with family members are needed for proper development. In fact, research shows that when teens spend more time with their parents, they are less likely to get in trouble at school or with the law.
Deliberately schedule family time. Whether it is a trip to the zoo or park, or even playing a board-game at the kitchen table.
2) Speak in “I” Statements
Close siblings understand how to communicate their feelings effectively. Open communication is a necessary ingredient to the recipe for a strong family. Encourage your family to talk in “I” messages.
“I” statements force the speaker to express their own feelings, rather then placing blame on others. For example:
- “You” statement: You never listen to me
- “I” statement: I feel frustrated when I feel like I can’t express myself.
Since communication is a key quality in strong families, it is important to develop the conversation skills to effectively express your feelings and talk openly. When used properly, “I” statements lead to positive and efficient conversations instead of frustrated shouting.
Teach the members in your family to use terms like “I feel” “What I need is” when confronting a conflict.
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3) Recognize That Everyone has Different Needs
My youngest son loves to play alone for hours, while my oldest son thrives on constant interaction. On the other hand, my daughter feels loved when we sit and cuddle, and my son feels special when I play baseball with him.
My point is, every member of the family naturally has different needs. When you realize this, you can identify these need and support each individual family member in the way they need.
Make it a priority to understand what makes each family member tick, and share what you learned with each other.
4) Turn Mistakes into Teaching Opportunities
Resilience is a super important quality that mentally strong families possess. You can strengthen your families ability to work together through issues, while avoiding the blame game. Close siblings understand that they may have to help each other with challenges in life.
Use any challenges your family faces as chances to have difficult conversations.
You can also prepare by talking through positive solutions for hypothetical problems. For example you can ask your children things like:
- If you saw kids at recess making fun of your sister, what would you do?
- If your brother dropped his books in the hall at school, and helping him would make you late for class, what would you do?
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5) Be a Role Model for Self Development
Self development is the watering can to the mental strength flower. We are all constantly learning, and if you don’t use the things that you learn, then your growth is stunted.
Encourage your kids to grow and learn together. Although it is tough to take time for yourself, when you exercise, read a book, or accomplish anything, you are showing your children the importance of working towards goals.
Are there goals that your entire family could work towards, such as eating healthier, taking an art class, or learning to cook together? This will help you to raise close siblings who support each other through thick and thin.
Final Thoughts on Close Siblings
These tips will help you raise close siblings and be prepared to stand strong when faced with any challenges or obstacles.
And there will be challenges and obstacles.
If you follow these 5 simple tips, your family will be a force to be reckoned with.
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