Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Our Daughters Really Get Along | Part 2

4.   We focus on collaboration and not competition.  We do not compare our children, period.  We do our best to not compare them with each other or with other children.  They are two different people.  We try to honor that and work within that when helping them negotiate the world and each other.

However, they are both motivated by some of the same things…like dessert!  While we have to earn dessert in our house, we also may go out for frozen yogurt when I catch them working together on something or resolving an issue themselves.

5.   We treat them as individuals as much as possible. (This should probably be 4a...) My older daughter is pretty introverted and needs time alone while my younger daughter really enjoys the company of others.  We talk about these differences and make sure we give them each what it is they need to re-energize themselves. 

We don’t assume that they need the same thing.  This has helped tremendously in motivating them, finding ways that they can contribute and allowing them to still get what they need from us.

6.   We use what sibling rivalry we do have for good.  There are still some elements of sibling rivalry…so I use it!  When I say thank you to Lore for putting away her laundry, Stori almost always jumps into action.  Maybe it just serves as a reminder but it almost always gets results.  I give praise regularly but only when warranted. Fortunately, it is still important to both of my children. 

I also give a lot of gratitude for specific behavior, which this is gold in our house.  It is contagious.  When I say thank you for something specifically, I tend to hear it back and I will hear it between siblings too.  I am not kidding.  It is so amazing to see one sister clean up the others’ plate and a genuine ‘thank you’ come out.

7.   We encourage cooperation by making it undesirable to come to us to settle differences.  This may sound cruel but it is a terrific motivator for them to work out differences.  Essentially, if you are arguing about which movie to watch and not finding a way to work it out so you must come to me to settle the dispute, you will most likely not get to watch a movie.  That’s it. 

They are smart and know that, if they can’t work together, they will lose it all, like
in Independence Day.  Therefore, they will use those tools that they’ve been taught and either work it out or compromise.  What happens often is, one will pick out three movies and the other will make the final choice then switch the next time.  Simply great.

We do have to help them navigate situations from time to time (road trips are a big one) but for the most part, they know they must work this out themselves.

Of course, one of my daughters is more of a leader and the other is often happy to follow, so that is helpful in this dynamic.  However, we talk a lot about respect and don’t allow ‘pressure’ from one to the other. 

They are learning a lot from each other about cooperation, negotiation, creative thinking and problem solving.  I know it won’t always be this simple, though I hope that the skills they learn by working together and sharing ‘things’ will lead to less conflict in their lives overall. 

We know the benefits of creative thinking and negotiation will come in handy as adults for both of our children.  And we are happy that they will also have each other while figuring it all out.

Would love to know what is the biggest battle your siblings face?  Any tips of how to overcome it?

Thank you for reading.

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