Some thoughts on dealing with siblings:

Try to avoid comparisons between siblings.


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Try to give each sibling a separate space to have his or her own things that are not shared.


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Try to avoid labeling. If you tag a teen as ‘the good one,’ ‘the bad one,’ ‘the mean one’ or ‘the smart one,’ then you create a series of expectations that can become self-fulfilling.[i] If you treat one child as ‘the bad one,’ then you are more likely to remember and notice events that fit that label, and disregard, minimize or forget incidents that you see as ‘exceptions’ to the rule.


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Try to avoid reinforcing tattle-taling. Tell your teen that it is your job to monitor the rules, and unless someone is getting hurt you don’t want her coming to you reporting on her siblings.

[i] A self-fulfilling prophecy is when a person predicts how she will do and then behaves in such a way that the predictions come true. For example, a person expects to fail an exam and either does not work hard or she is distracted by her fear, she ends up failing the exam. Jones, R (1977). Self-fulfilling prophecies. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (Distributed by John Wiley & Sons.)

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