Morris Elem. Counselor Connection

December 2014 - Megan Barber, K-2 School Counselor

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Siblings: Best Friends, Worst Enemies

A sibling is a special gift, but one that is often unappreciated during the childhood years. While siblings are often excellent playmates, partners in crime, and in later years best friends and confidants, arguments among them are bound to occur and are absolutely normal, even though they can be a parent’s worst headache! Here are some tips that may help when dealing with sibling rivalry.

Know why they act out. Siblings fight with one another for a variety of reasons. They could be seeking attention from you or trying to distinguish and separate themselves from one other. Older children dislike being seen as the responsible ones, and younger children dislike being compared to their older sibling, and each may be trying to express these feelings by taking their frustration out on the other.

Set ground rules. Our tendency as parents is to get involved in every disagreement between the children and solve it for them. However, sometimes children do need to learn to settle their differences on their own, as long as it is done in a safe and healthy way. Your children should know what is appropriate and what is not. For example, under no circumstances is it ok to use physical fighting to resolve differences.

Teach positive interaction. One way to minimize squabbles among your children is to model cooperation, compromise, and anger management. Teach them to take a deep breath and remember not to say things they do not mean in the heat of the moment. Remind them that it takes two to argue, and show them how to apologize to one another. Help them figure out ways to cooperate and compromise, take turns, and sometimes agree to disagree. If you do get involved, try not to yell or lecture.

Don’t Compare. Each of your children is unique and fighting with each other is one of the ways in which they are conveying this to one another and to you. Make sure you spend some one-on-one time with each child. While it is easy to enroll your children in the same activities, especially if they are of the same age or gender, recognize their individual talents and interests. Teach your children that fair is not always equal. Older children are often given more responsibility, and younger children do not always get the same privileges.

*article adapted from


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When your family is on the go this holiday season, try using some of that time for “thinking games.” Try the game “Would You Rather?” Offer two options and ask which they prefer and why. For example, say, “Would you rather live near the beach or the mountains?” Or try a game called “Three Favorites.” Someone picks a category (outfits, movies), and then everyone tells their top three choices. Another option would be the game “What Doesn’t Belong?” Take turns naming items and asking the others to explain which is the odd one out and why. Kids especially like this one because there is more than one “right” answer. Kids may want to play their “thinking games” all the time...and what a great way to improve their ability to think through their ideas!

Kindergarten November Guidance Lessons

1. Manners At School (what does it look like to show good manners at school?)

2. Glad Monster, Sad Monster (feelings)

1st Grade November Guidance Lessons

1. Arthur's Computer Disaster (making responsible and trustworthy choices)

2. Chrysanthemum (our names make us unique)

2nd Grade November Guidance Lessons

1. How Could You? Kids Talk About Trust (honesty)

2. Chester's Way (friendship)

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