DearDrRobyn Jan2017 .pdf

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Young students: “I can imagine how you feel!”
Older students/teens/adults: “Reading, understanding and responding to other people’s feelings.”

Dear Dr. Robyn,
Some days, I feel like sibling rivalry was invented in my house. My
kids can be mean to each other. I tell them that they wouldn’t like it if
the situation was in reverse but it doesn’t make any difference. How
can I get them to realize that how their siblings feel, matters?

Dear Jennifer,
Sibling rivalry is part of many
households-- you are not alone!
Siblings feel safe with one another
and know that the love between
them will endure fights, frustration
and hurt feelings- so they let it
all out! Sibling rivalry is also
often seen as a cry for attention-children know parents will
pay attention when the kids are
What else? Sibling rivalry let’s off
stress and results in some feelings
of satisfaction when one sibling
gets the other “into trouble.” We
see it everywhere! This doesn’t
make it right, of course, it just
makes it common.
Here are some ways to make
your children more aware of each
other’s feelings:
(1) Work on “I feel” statements:
Encourage each child to have a
moment where s/he can give an

Jennifer M; Newark, OH

“I feel” statement and a moment
where s/he listens to his/her
sibling say an “I feel” statement. It
will sound like this: “I feel ______
because/when _______________.
(2) Reiterate what was heard:
You, as the parent, can either
reiterate what YOU heard or, if
your children are old enough,
have each child reiterate what
they heard his/her sibling say.
For instance, “Ty feels sad when
I leave him out” or “Claire feels
angry when I go into her room
without knocking.” Once feelings
are stated, ask your children; “how
can you work out this problem so
we can move forward?”
(3) Turn it around: When your
children see others interacting
in everyday life or when conflict
just starts in your home, ask your
children, “how do you think
________ feels right now? Or,
“if you were in his/her shoes,
how would you feel right now?”
Perspective-taking takes training!

For more Powerful parenting information, go to
© 2016 Powerful Words Character Development

<< Paraphrased from a message; with

(4) Praise it when you see
it: Catch your children using
empathy and let them know
you noticed. Allow them to get
attention for making empathetic
rather than antagonistic choices!
Lastly, make empathy a common
practice inside and outside of your
home. You can even use media
and everyday occurrences as
springboards for discussion!
Here’s to your success!

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