Your children’s relationship with each other is likely to be the longest and most powerful relationship they have ever had. However, there will likely be times when you feel like you are raising sworn enemies rather than loving siblings. But rivalry between brothers and sisters is normal; disagreements can be important learning opportunities. And just because siblings fight doesn’t mean they can’t be close.
There are a few things you can do to strengthen bonds between siblings, whether they are biological siblings, step-siblings, or adopted ones. Research shows that siblings are an essential part of teaching each other how to interact in society.
Lori Kramer, a professor at the University of Illinois who has done extensive research on siblings, says: “Parents are better at teaching the social finer points of more formal settings—how to behave in public, how not to be embarrassed at the dinner table, for example. But siblings are the best role models for the more informal behaviors—how to behave at school or on the street, or, most importantly, how to act cool with friends—that make up a major part of a child’s daily experience.”