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by Editorial Staff--Suburban Family Magazine
How Do I … put an end to sibling rivalries?
Miriam K. Horn, Ph.D., licensed psychologist, Moorestown

“It may not be possible to entirely eliminate sibling rivalry, as some competition and struggle between siblings is common during childhood. However, there are a number of steps parents can take to decrease rivalry between their children. A few of them are: * Praise each child for their talents or accomplishments. At the same time, to keep competition to a minimum, avoid comparing one child’s strengths to another’s weaknesses, (for example, ‘Why can’t you run as fast as your brother?’) * Promote compassion and understanding. Help your children understand how their behavior may affect their sibling. Encourage your children to see through another person’s eyes, (for example, ‘How do you think you would feel if your brother grabbed your new toy and would not give it back?’) * Take on the perspective that each child is special and unique, which may mean that they have different needs at different times. Your decisions can be fair without having to make everything equal. For example, one child may need a new jacket because he has outgrown his; while a sibling may perceive this as “unfair,” it may need to be explained that she received a new jacket several months prior. * Encourage teamwork and cooperation. Even when siblings are of different ages, they can be given projects to do in which each has an age-appropriate role.… To encourage harmony, your role is most helpful as a facilitator, instead of as the taskmaster. Research shows that the relationship that parents have with each of their children is very closely linked to the type of connection that siblings have with each other. If there seems to be more conflict or unhappiness among your children lately, listen closely to what they are trying to tell you and work at adjusting the family environment to increase harmony and balance.”

Mom vs. Mom
Should parents monitor their child’s Facebook usage?

Trish DeLisi, Washington Township, mother of Alexa, 20; Dominick, 15; Nicholas, 15; and Gabriella, 11.
“I have always believed in monitoring my children’s friends and activities, so I feel monitoring their Facebook pages in this day and age serves the same purpose. That purpose is to make sure these relationships are healthy and not damaging in any way. It is not because I do not trust my children—but I feel they may be faced with situations that are unfamiliar, and I want to be able to intercede if necessary. My children are aware that I monitor these sites, and they are also aware of what is expected of them when they are interacting with others. It has allowed more opportunities to discuss actions and repercussions in light of recent stories in the media involving technology and bullying.”

Marybeth Sasso, Voorhees mother of Benjamin, 22; Emily, 21; Molly, 14; and Faith, 8.
“It depends on the child. I have a 14-year-old daughter, and I do not monitor her Facebook. She has always been a good and trustworthy kid. We have a very open relationship, and she knows if there is ever any problem in her life she can always come and talk to me or her father. I know her friends. Her Facebook account is on my email account, so I can see who is communicating with her. I also know the password to her account; she knows I can log on to her account anytime I wish, though I choose not to. I treat her Facebook account with the same privacy and respect I treat her room, her diary or her telephone conversations.”

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 4 (June, 2011).
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