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Building Strong Sibling Relationships: 4 ways parents can help

Start now to help your kids have strong sibling relationships in adulthood.

As parents, we all want our children to get along and be friends, not just now, but in the future as well. However, the constant bickering and fighting, especially during the summer, might make us doubt if this is even possible.

According to Studio 5 Parenting Contributor Heather Johnson, it is.

“Parents want so desperately for their kids to be close. They want it really bad,” said Heather. This desire becomes even more poignant when parents see their grown-up children not having good relationships. The impact of siblings not getting along can be crushing for parents.


The Importance of Early Intervention

“We always want to do the work early. Always,” Heather said.

Heather emphasized the importance of early intervention to prevent future devastation. She acknowledged that there are many factors that can cause conflict among siblings, such as wanting to be right, perceptions of unfairness, and different temperaments. However, she reassured parents that fighting and arguing among siblings is normal and does not necessarily mean they won’t be friends when they’re older.

The Benefits of Strong Sibling Relationships

Research shows that strong sibling relationships have numerous benefits as individuals get older.

Heather explained, “There’s less anxiety and less depression in people when they have healthy relationships with their siblings. There’s an overall greater wellbeing. When we’re friends with our brothers and sisters, that’s a really good thing.” She encouraged parents to see the constant redirection and conflict resolution they do as worth it because it benefits their children in the long run.

Build Relational Wealth

Heather introduced the concept of relational wealth, which is how interconnected you are with other people. She compares it to a bank account where you invest time, energy, and selflessness now so that over time, these relationships are stronger and worth more. The first step in building this relational wealth, according to Heather, is through service and sacrifice.

Encourage Service and Sacrifice

Heather suggested various ways parents can encourage their children to serve one another.

She said, “This is one kid who’s getting up to get a glass of milk and you say, ‘Hey, will you pour one for your sister?’ This is somebody outside trying to fix the chain on their bike in the middle of summer and you sending another kid out to say, ‘Hey, will you go hang out with them and see if you can help them figure that out?’” She emphasized that any time we serve someone else, we have to sacrifice in some way, and that sacrifice brings connection.

Focus on the Fun

Heather advised parents to focus their energy on the positive connection points rather than trying to stop the fights.

She said, “Sibling relationships aren’t close when people don’t fight a lot. They’re close when they play and get along together often.” She encouraged parents to create memories and help their children have fun together, as having fun together and positive experiences mean more for the quality of a relationship than lack of fighting.

Avoid Competition

One of the ways to build strong sibling relationships, according to Heather, is to avoid breeding competition among siblings. She suggested spending one-on-one time with each child so that they don’t have to compete with their siblings for attention. She encouraged parents to find 15 minutes a day to spend one-on-one time with a child.

To contact Heather for counseling, email, or visit

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