Library Hosts Supportive Sibs Workshop
Monica Trombetta (right) with a workshop attendee
On April 15, at Bellingham Public Library, Monica Trombetta of Milford Family and Community Network presented a workshop on how to get siblings to stop competing and start complementing each other. Several parents and caregivers came together to get tips on helping their children get along.
Monica (pictured left) started the presentation by asking the participants to look into their relationships with their own siblings, since a lot of that experience is carried forward and affects how you relate to your kids’ relationships with each other. She urged the participants to remember that each child is unique and that conflicting personalities can cause tension in any relationship.
“Each person has their own temperament, and if you aren’t compatible with your siblings it can put a big strain on your relationship,” she explained. Some tips she provided for parents included making sure to spend special time with each child, and avoiding comparisons or letting your children get stuck in family roles. She discussed ways to celebrate children’s differences and focus on what is great about each child.
“Remember, you are a parent, not a referee,” Monica reminded the group. She talked about the right time to step into an argument and about the line between bickering and dangerous behavior. Siblings need to remember that “fair” doesn’t always mean “equal,” but they do need to be able to respect each other.
Siblings provide a child’s first peer relationship, so she noted that instead of rivals, siblings should be encouraged to think of one another as comfort, minister, teacher, coworker and entertainer. It’s natural for siblings to not be happy all the time, but parents can help appropriately verbalize feelings and teach a level of conflict resolution that they can carry forward.