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Sibling rivalry can be handled with patience and kindness. Parents should know the battles are inevitable and must prepare their kids to defuse potentially ugly situations. And there will be times when parents must come to a child’s defense and say, “We are family, and we will not say anything that doesn’t build up one another. We will respect each other.

Use these 3 tips for encouraging kindness in the home:

Teach mutual respect. Do not allow your children to insult one another. Words are extremely powerful, and snide comments can damage deeply. Experts say every negative comment needs at least five positive remarks to even out. Teach your children to be kind and to appreciate each other.

Do not play favorites. In Genesis, we see the damage done by Jacob’s favoritism of Joseph. Remember that all children are created equal, but not all children are the same. Recognize and praise each child’s individual skills, strengths and accomplishments without implying that one child is somehow better.

Teach conflict-management. Do not deny your child’s feelings, but help him learn to express emotions in an appropriate way. If you see your child acting jealously, encourage him identify the emotion by saying, “I understand that you feel bad because…” or “I know you hurt because.…” Helping your children figure out the causes of their actions will help them learn how to deal with problems in the future

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