Education Committee Presents: Fostering Strong Sibling Relationships

PIFS Education Committee Presents:
Fostering Strong Sibling Relationships

A Presentation by Christine D’Alessandro
Head of Lower School, Sacred Heart Greenwich

Thanks to everyone who came to hear Christine D’Alessandro last week. The event was well-received and well-attended. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are some highlights from her presentation. 

  • Limiting beliefs, such as stereotypes (example, the “baby” of family), stand in the way of handling a situation impartially. Try to avoid such stereotyping. 

  • Children want to be heard. Often just acknowledging and naming their emotion (“You feel frustrated”) can mediate a tense situation. Once more calm, a more productive conversation can be had.

  • For young siblings (toddlers), we can’t expect a relationship; a three-year-old isn’t interested in a friendship with his brother quite yet. Rather, help build a process for respecting boundaries. 

  • When conflict inevitably arises…
    • Parents need to be aware of their own emotions. You can’t de-escalate an escalated child/situation until you are in a calm and collected space yourself.
    • Don’t just side with the victim. This can create a victim mentality. 
    • Outbursts are information. Let the situation inform you about who needs what, and try to help it become a teachable moment about boundaries.
      • “It’s ok to have fun, it’s not ok to ________.” 
      • Both sides want to be heard. Acknowledge that you hear each child, and validate their feelings. 
      • “What is it that you need right now?”

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