Inside: To curb sibling rivalry, we can encourage our kids to make these sibling bracelets together and curb the bickering and fighting.
A few years ago, we were at an event with a bunch of families and I met a new family that had three sisters. These girls were all similar in age to my kids so they were playing with my kids.
And I watched an interesting and very common dynamic play out. The youngest sister was being mean to everyone around her, even my kids. She was grabbing and not waiting for her turn and screaming at kids who didn’t listen to her.
The parents punished her and then went back to socializing. But I continued to watch.
The eldest sister was interacting with the middle sister and was cruel to her. Called her names. Wouldn’t let her join in what she was doing. Laughed at her.
And the middle sister sulked away and had to go find something else to do.
But then the middle sister and the youngest sister interacted. And the middle sister was even crueler to the youngest sister. Teasing. Put downs. Even pushing her when no adult was looking.
The youngest sister retaliated, pushed back, and then got in trouble for pushing.
The youngest child got the brunt end of a really crummy sibling relationship that started at the top with the eldest and middle sister’s relationship.
The eldest sister’s cruelty and nastiness was a poison that seeped down to how even my kids were being treated because the youngest sister took out her anger and frustration on the only people she could: other kids who were younger than her.
And it broke my heart.
This kind of sibling relationship seems over the top, but it’s common. Really, really common.
And it’s not that hard to avoid. But we have to intentionally choose to create a family dynamic that doesn’t allow cruelty or name-calling or teasing.
Instead, we have to intentionally build a strong family identity and create a home where they feel welcomed, safe and included.
One simple, fun way to do that is to have our kids make these sibling bracelets as small gifts for each other.
Why we need to raise kind siblings
We are intentionally raising our kids to be kind for several reasons.
One of the most crucial reasons is so they speak and act with kindness more often to their siblings.
Sibling rivalry and sibling bickering can easily dominate our homes and ruin the peaceful home we want to create.
And it breaks our mama hearts when we hear one of our kids treating another one of our kids poorly.
The teasing. The nasty digs. The exclusion. The mean-spirited shoves. The slammed doors.
It all leads to hurt feelings. Resentment. Coldness. Indifference. Hatred.
Sibling relationships are tricky.
But we can and should guide our kids to have more positive relationships with their siblings.
These are the battles I choose to “fight” because the relationship with their sisters and brothers is essential to their mental health. And positive sibling relationships are essential to a positive home environment.
We all deserve to live in calm, happy, peaceful homes. And we can create it.
While we can’t curb all sibling squabbles, we can reduce the amount of them, lessen the intensity of them, and diminish the cruelty behind them.
And we can start early on when our kids are young or we can start now.
Want step by step strategic ways to raise kind siblings? You need our Raising Kind Siblings ebook where we walk you through how to make it happen.
We teach them how to be mindful of their siblings, and to THINK before they speak so they don’t hurt feelings on accident and how to be mad at their sibling without being mean back or retaliating.
To improve their relationships we make Siblings Books for them and then read them often.
We have banned these surprising 15 things that cause little tears in their relationship and our family identity.
We encourage acts of kindness towards siblings with our Sibling Ice Cream Challenge where everybody wins.
We put them on the same team so they can win together with this Sibling Game.
And we read sibling books like these:
And since my kids love making crafts and also love giving and receiving gifts, we often help them make gifts for their siblings.
So these Sibling Kindness Bracelets allow them to
- spend time together while they’re crafting,
- focus on giving gifts rather than receiving gifts,
- and wear something that reminds them of their sibling.
Even if they only wear them once or twice, it’s the process of making them and giving them that matters.
How to make these sibling bracelets
1. Gather all of your supplies. You’ll need:
2. Cut the elastic cord about double the length you’ll need to fit around a sibling’s wrist.
3. Lay out the letters of the words you want spell.
We used phrases like:
- Best Sister and Best Brother (only if you only have one sister or one brother)
- I love you, Sis
- Sisters Forever
- Best Sisters
But you can, of course, come up with your own messages.
4. String the beads onto the elastic cord. You can use a pony bead as a spacer between words.
5. Add extra pony beads at the beginning and the end of your sibling phrase to make the bracelet big enough for your sibling’s wrist. Remind them to chose colors their sibling would like best since this is a gift.
6. Measure the bracelet around their wrist so the bracelet isn’t too big but also isn’t too tight that it stretches the elastic in an uncomfortable way.
7. Tie a square knot to secure the bracelet. To tie a square knot, you’ll start like you’re tying your shoelace and put the right string over the left string and tuck under. Then put the left string over the right string and tuck under. Pull tightly on the knot to secure it.
8. Gift your sibling with the sibling bracelet you made.
And then remind your kids every time they squabble and bicker to look at their wrists and remember what’s really important…their relationship with their sibling.