Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sibling Love... How Do You Parents Out There Foster This Love?

Fostering Sibling Love

Today I found myself evaluating just how close our baby bunch is in terms of sibling love. I guess it makes sense given the fact that our newly turned 9 year old daughter just returned from camp after being gone from her family for a few days for the very first time. When we were pregnant with them one after another, we wanted so badly for them to be closer than anything and we still long for that. We want to make sure they have each others backs always and that they forever share their special bond in driving mom and dad nuts…and will forever be best friends. We never wished for a girl or a boy but rather just a healthy baby each time and that is what we were so very blessed with. As it turned out we had a girl, a girl, and then a boy in this baby bunch and the three of them couldn't be closer. There is always laughter especially those baby belly laughs and there are always tears for one reason or another and the three of them share in each other's laughter and tears with one of them usually being the cause of the one or the other. In discussing what makes them so close, gender always comes up but I can honestly say that gender isn't an issue but what is is how we as parents foster that sibling love between them. We are always aware of this and always adjusting our parenting styles to accommodate our children and their sibling bonds. Some have asked how we as parents foster the love between our kids?

Here are some key things that Greg and I did intentionally to foster all our children's love.

- Sibling Gifts: When  Fiona was first born, we let our two older children, Kimberly and Lily, pick out a stuffed animal to “gift” to Fiona. They each wrapped their stuffed animal, named it, and gave it to Fiona. There is something about giving a gift that makes you feel love for the recipient. We also had Fiona “gift” the girls something that was very specific to what they loved. So, it was the first start of establishing their relationship with the newest member of our family and so on. We do this with birthdays to add the element of surprise and to make them feel special too.
We gave Fiona a Cabbage Patch doll when Sabrina came home (14 months later) to foster a love for her baby from the get go instead of feeling jealousy towards the new baby and thus established her love and mother hen qualities when caring for her new baby. And then both girls were given charge of their new baby 
From the beginning we fostered special nicknames between them for each other. There is something special to a meaningful nickname between siblings to creates a special bond that they don’t share with others.
- “Give one to Nana”. Give one to "Breenie". Give one to "Rexie". We also make them “give” and share things with each other. If one asks for a pretzel or a cookie when we're in the mall, they all get one and we encourage them to share with their brother and sister as if it were their idea and praise them so that their perspective is always one encomposing them all. One for all and all for one works!
- Team FSR! Treat them as a team together as much as possible. Make them high five, hug, and chest bump! They’ll get the sense really quickly that they are on the same team.
We continue to find new ways to encourage our children to be each others best friends because sibling love is so very important to both my husband and myself and would love to hear from our readers how you encourage close bonds in siblings.

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