Small child

How to build a good sibling relationship?

How to build a good sibling relationship?

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Dr. Gordon Neufeld, a developmental psychologist and author and co-author of many books, devoted his entire life to studying the phenomenon of attachment of children and parents and siblings. He noticed that there are six stages that each relationship needs to go through to get a safe relationship. Each phase builds and deepens attachment over time.
How can you support building positive siblings?

Building a secure bond between siblings

Building a secure bond between siblings is a big challenge. Help that siblings get along all their lives and be able to rely on each other becomes a priority, although it is not always possible to achieve it.
The goal of parents of young children is to create and strengthen relationships and reduce unhealthy competition. However, the motive is not to completely eliminate quarrels or misunderstandings, because of course this is not possible. Rather, it is about creating a bond that is strong enough to solve any problem within itself and for itself.

Just be

For a bond to be formed, it is necessary to be active with another person, i.e. to give children a chance to get to know each other. In various situations, in conversations, laughter, games, organizing time together, planning and even breaking set rules. This allows you to engage your senses and tie siblings at a basic level.

Common time is also time spent in a family circle. That is why it is so important to celebrate joint meals, walks, outdoor games or trips.

What can a parent do? When he sees that children spend time together in a natural way, he should stand in the shadows. Do not comment, uninvited, do not join, without interfering. Sometimes, for the good of the matter, you can even postpone dinner or going out together, so as not to unnecessarily and too hurriedly interrupt children's play.

Similarly the other way around. Conflicts between children do not always require parental intervention, and certainly not one in which mom or dad enter the skin of a judge or a policeman. Sometimes it's worth waiting at the side. All disputes and misunderstandings are also an opportunity to build a secure relationship, meet another person and understand the difficult art of communication.
Of course, the parent should step in, if the conflict is large, there was verbal or physical violence between the children. In this case, the children should be separated, allow time to cool down and after a long enough separation let them communicate again. Allowing violence at all and not cutting it at the root is one of the most serious mistakes that often result from a lack of strength and knowledge of what to do in a given situation.

Being like a sister or brother

Another level of attachment is realizing the similarities between two people. When the child realizes that he has a lot in common with his sister and brother, he enters the next stage.

How to help children during this time? Observing them well and finding common features, passions that connect them, a way of spending time that is equally nice to one side or the other. It is also worth involving children to the same activities, planning entertainment nice for each of them.

It is also important to celebrate the origin together, highlight the roots. A great excuse for this can be viewing family photos, creating a family tree, persuading children to remember their grandparents.

Being together

Children who have regular contact with each other (both emotional and physical - by staying in a common room, together, and not next to each other) and who notice the features that connect them, begin to feel loyalty to each other and a sense of belonging. They begin to understand that they are together, they form a team, that they depend on one another in a way.

It usually takes years to enter this stage, it will take many months, time together, games, conflicts, action and regular spending time with each other. Organizing play involving cooperation and wisely engaging children to jointly perform individual activities can be helpful in achieving it. You can also plan a "day of siblings" or "lunch of brothers and sisters", during which the reins pass into the hands of children and they work together to create something for themselves and for the family.

I know I'm important to you

At this stage of secure attachment, the child feels important to the other person. He feels that his siblings not only form a team, but that they have something more in common than spending time together and similar needs. This aspect can be seen in the fact that children are able to "sacrifice" themselves for siblings, give pleasure, defend themselves. This level is reflected in supporting siblings, sharing important moments together. T many gestures, not necessarily words that emphasize how the other person: brother or sister is important to each other.


Although this usually does not come immediately, especially in a more mature version, over time the siblings realize that the relationships between them are conditioned by love. It is a time when children are not good for themselves, because parents look, because they are afraid of losing certain privileges, but because their behavior flows from deeper feelings, what really lies in their hearts. The child can apologize for internal needs, give a hug when a sister or brother is hurt, when he feels lonely. After years of relationships, you can see spontaneous signs of love and concern for the needs of the other person.

I know you as myself

At this stage of attachment, the child feels confidence in siblings, belonging, love and community. He has such a sense of attachment that he has no hesitation in telling the other person important information. It is a stage where you can share your own fears, desires, dreams and plans. Communication is definitely more mature and fuller, it comes from the need of the heart and out of concern for another person.
This stage can be achieved after many years, it requires a lot of time, commitment and internal readiness. Parents can help children in this respect, wisely supporting their development, treating them fairly, teaching them communication, supporting positive relationships, engaging forces to create interesting family memories, as well as allowing children to cooperate. The foundation prepared in this way allows to create deeper relationships between siblings in the future.

Good to remember…