(Parenting) Alternate Form of Affection

Brothers and sisters can sometimes be overzealous in their demonstration of affection toward their siblings. It can provide the parent with a difficult dilemma when they watch their child protest their sibling’s well-intended hug or the playful tackle. We know that it does no good to tell the recipient to just deal and it is important for the kids to learn to look for and respect the other child’s boundaries. However, when there is a positive attempt towards affection from one of the siblings, it can also be damaging to shut the giver down. Relationships grow through giving and receiving and interacting and that must be encouraged.

Alternative solutions are sometimes more obvious than others, but when you witness one of these interactions between your kids, do your best to rechannel the affection. Suggest an activity that they can participate in together, give them a common cause, or simply suggest another way that physical affection might be demonstrated. If the recipient is old enough, they could also be a part of the conversation.

Another important key in these tricky parenting situations is to keep your parenting positive. You correcting them with frustration or irritation in your voice or by using punishment will only succeed in growing resentment between the kids. Not only will their attempt at affection or interaction have been rejected by the desired recipient (their sibling), but they will have been punished by you for even attempting it. Affirm them for their desire to interact with their sibling and help them to learn how to interact in ways that they will both enjoy.

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