Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) said, ‘The right of a child over his parents is that he should give him a good name, make his manners good, and teach him the Qur’an.
Every family is affected by how siblings relate and get on with each other. The effects are no different for a younger or older family. Siblings fighting all the time over toys is the same as two of them arguing constantly as adults. Yes, sure fights over toys are much easier to deal with but the basic issues are the same. Siblings for their own benefit and that of their family need to get along. But when the siblings are adults’ things are that much tougher.
It goes without saying that how your parents treated you and your siblings as children has a profound impact on those relationships. Feelings of jealousy and resentment often fester for a long time. For that reason, as a parent, you need to be proactive from when your kids are young. The habits you help them learn when they are young will help them throughout their life and help them maintain a good relationship with their siblings.
One of the key things that can cause tension between siblings is comparing them. Avoid doing that. All children have different strengths and abilities so it’s never a good idea to compare them. Sometimes as parents we compare kids to a sibling who is doing really well at school for example, as a form of encouragement. Believe me, it is hardly ever seen that way by your child so try your best not to do it. Even as an adult, I would hate being compared to one of my siblings, who may for example, have a better job or house. It does nothing but cause jealousy and resentment.
Being constantly compared often leads to self esteem issues in later life too. A slightly better way would be to try to get the kids to appreciate each other’s differences. If one of them is good at reading then let them read the bedtime story for the others or read a surah before sleeping.
Equally giving more attention to one child over another can cause problems too. If you have to help one child more than the others, then explain to the other kids why. They will feel better about the situation if they are clear about why it’s happening. I remember one of my kids asking me why there was a picture on the wall of my other child and not them. I hadn’t done that intentionally, I just didn’t have the right frame, but my kid noticed. Kids are like that and will notice the smallest things.
Even a birthday can cause tension. Try your best to involve the other kids in the birthday preparation and get them to make a card. As simple as that is, it’s a really nice way for that child to feel involved and show love towards their sibling.
Undoubtedly finding faults with your child in the presence of other siblings, does nothing but humiliate them. You are also showing the other kids that it’s ok to hurt someone’s feelings in this way. Instead keep such conversations between you and that particular child after all the little baby you once held in your arms is now a full little person with feelings and emotions of their own.
Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) has said:
“Respect your children and give them good training so that Allah rewards you.”
To help your kids to get along, try to do activities that they can do together, even if it’s a simple board game. The more fun they have together, the more likely there is less conflict. If they are having a bad day and are constantly arguing, then try getting them to do an activity they both enjoy. It could be something like, making cookies or baking a pizza. This can really help to change their mood.
Whatever you get the kids to do, always remind them that listening is one way to show respect for each other. Also, that they should treat others the way they want to be treated, with kindness and care. Even if your kids are older, you can actively encourage them to be kind to each other. Do simple things like reminding them if it’s their siblings’ birthday or helping them pay for a birthday present. They are just little ways to help them to get along better.
Building up these habits when kids are young will really help them to get on with their siblings as they get older. The relationship between them just needs lots of love, encouragement and patience from you as their parent.
Finally, keep in mind that all siblings fight or argue and the rivalry between them is normal. However, by treating your children with respect, listening to them and giving them opportunities to resolve their own problems, you will be guiding them towards a better future. Something that Allah will reward you for abundantly in this life and the hereafter.
I am a housewife with 4 'children' in their 30's. As a mother I feel strongly about empowering other mothers with information that can help them with the different stages of motherhood. No mother should ever feel alone on the motherhood journey and we can all do our bit to help.