Have you recently started bringing your non custodial children around your custodial children in hopes that they will bond and form some type of relationship? You notice that instead of bonding, your children have been giving one another the cold shoulder and the evil eye. If this is the case you must look at the situation with awareness; there must be an underlying reason as to why your children are not getting along.
It can be difficult for parents to try and analyze the minds of their children and difficult for the children to express themselves to their parent. This lack of communication and understanding between children and parent places great strain on the relationships. I have included some common reasons as to why siblings experience difficulty in bonding with one another. You can take a look at these reasons below and try to help find the root of the problem, so that your children can warm up to one another and begin working on creating a bond.
Jealousy – Your non custodial children (meaning the ones that do not live with you) may feel a tremendous amount of jealousy. Just think about it, your custodial children get to live with you and see you whenever they want but your non custodial children have a fixed amount of time with you. Even if your custodial children only see you at sporadic times throughout the week they still have the advantage over the other children because they know that you will come back home to them. This can cause a great amount of jealousy between the children.
Intimidation – One of your children may feel intimidated by their sibling. Intimidation not only triggers fear but it can trigger the feelings of envy or jealousy. Your child might feel as though he can not compare to his sibling. He might feel inadequate when analyzing his sibling which may cause him to hold a great deal of resentment toward his sibling. If you think that intimidation might be a contributing factor in the distance between your children you should; sit down (alone without the presence of other siblings) with the bitter child and ask that child what he thinks about his sibling. If the child sees you as warm and genuine he should open right up to you. After your child tells you his thoughts let the child know that he should not compare himself to his sibling and that he is great and beautiful in his own unique way. You should then list the ways that the child is special in life and special to you. Talking like this to your children will boost his confidence and motivate him to reach out to his sibling.
Bullying – It is possible that one sibling is bullying the other sibling. Bullying can take the form of petty sibling rivalry when children live together but for children who do not live together this type of bullying can feel more daunting. Bullying between half siblings is a bit more terrorizing because the siblings are still new to one another. They do not know one another well enough and so the relationship is very young and awkward similar to that feeling of confronting a stranger. The sibling that is being bullied by his half sibling may feel as though he is being bullied by a kid at school. There is a major difference from being bullied by your sibling (that you live with) and a complete stranger (that you do not yet know.)
Misinterpretation – The ex of one of your children might have instilled in your child that your custodial children were the reason for mommy and daddy’s separation. If the parent tells this to the child it will place the child in an awkward situation where he has to choose sides. Naturally, he will stick with the side of his caretaker and that will mean refusing to warm up to his half siblings. If this is the case it is important that you sit down with your child and let him know that this is not true. Let you child know how the relationship between him and his mom/dad is not going so well but that you love him and want him to get to know his siblings. You might have to eventually talk to the other parent if he/she keeps pitting the child against his half siblings.
Over praise – Maybe you praise one child more than you do the others. If you do praise one child more than the others, the other children will grow to have significant jealousy of the praised sibling. Their confidence will be shot and they will feel unworthy and bitter. The will spend a great deal of time wondering they do not get praised by their parent like their sibling. It is important as a parent to see the efforts in all of your children even when they do not achieve to your standards. If you see your children make an effort (whether big or small) you should embrace them.
You play favorites – You might unintentionally play favorites with one or more of your children leaving the others feeling ignored. Examine the way that you react with each child for instance; maybe you call on one child more than the others to assist you, or maybe you goof around more with one child than you do with the others? It is true that sometimes parents have a stronger connection with one of their children and unfortunately this causes the parents to overlook the other children. It is important as parents to make sure the children get the same amount of attention.
You blame one kid over the other – Your kids fight and afterward they come to you with a story one kid tells the truth while the other exaggerates and you are left playing judge. It can be hard to determine which kid is being truthful but you should fully listen to each child and make your best judgment. Sometimes parents let a child get away with the bad behavior and blame the other child because the other child is younger. This is not fair. The innocent child will soon pick up on this behavior and will call it favoritism, which will place distance in your relationship and cause a battle between the two children. Hear both sides out and discipline in a fair manner.
Feel ignored – If you do not spend a considerable amount of time with your children they will begin to feel ignored. This feeling hurts. Work schedules may take you away from your children but that does not mean that you should not try to make magic out of the 30 minutes that you do get with them. In short, it is not about the quantity of time that you spend with your children but the quality. If you really tune into your children for a short amount of time they will thrive. You should not worry too much about how much time you spend together rather you should worry about the quality of the time that you spend together. Remember each child needs their special alone time with their parent. When siblings are constantly grouped together they feel as though they have to compete for the parent’s attention which will cause some children to act out and others to remain passive. Take some time aside to spend alone with each child and strengthen the bond.