When Blended Siblings Don't Get Along
A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR SUMMER VISITATION WITH SIBLINGS
Adjusting to a different family dynamic is always challenging, but especially during extended visitation. Our usual visitation with the whole family is between 1-2 weeks which is the perfect amount of time for our kids to enjoy each other without getting into very many disagreements. So the long summer can quickly become a problem for our family!
Taking a step back to evaluate the reason behind the behavior is one of the first steps to take when siblings start to argue. Elle Kade's role changes when she comes to Idaho. At her dad's house, she has a stepbrother who is slightly older than her which gives them the freedom to watch the same TV shows and share the same interests but at our house she is the oldest with a big age gap between them. Understanding that change in her role makes a big difference when parenting them as a cohesive group. Each child is so individual and their needs should be addressed in the same way instead of setting the same expectations for each of them.
Boredom hits and everyone gets cranky! One way we've tried to avoid falling into a daily pattern is by finding easy ways to provide entertainment that everyone loves. We do a big summer bucketlist that's full of fun ideas that each of the kids contribute. I know that the afternoons can be really challenging so we try to either go to the pool or have a picnic or the dollar movie theater during that time of day. If they have something to look forward to, they will be motivated to spend the mornings doing chores or reading books to earn their reward.
Relate to their perspective. Try to understand their point of view and take time to evaluate the situation without bias. Children learn to communicate their thoughts and feelings by imitation and practice so providing that opportunity for them to process each situation is an important skill for them to develop.
Remember that conflicts will happen and it is totally normal! Give your children the space to cool down and don't expect them to always get along. Provide ways for them to connect and give them the opportunity to appreciate each other through simple acts of service. Communicate expectations clearly and be open to their perspective.
The most important thing is to cultivate a loving relationship between your children and that takes time and effort. Have patience and be willing to make adjustments often! Your hard work will pay off when you catch them laughing and playing together, it will all be worth it.