How do I get my kids to be nice to each other?

My brother and I are very close. Growing up he was my idol. Six years older than me, I thought he was the coolest guy ever. What I don’t understand is why my kids are so mean to each other and how I am supposed to get them to be nice or even do nice things for each other. I go crazy watching them refuse to put in the slightest effort to do anything that would help a sibling.

Jazmyn carrying Fiona as we check out the Horses on the way to Tacoma

The three oldest are all very helpful with the youngest. They will get her dressed, make her lunch, clean her room. It’s heartwarming and sweet to watch. The care they put into her is astounding. Because of their effort, she can sing her ABC’s count to 20 identify many numbers and letters. She knows more songs than I do. For a three year old, she is advanced. It’s great…

Jozlynn sitting with Granny Jo in our living room

Then when they are interacting with each other it is heart breaking. I cannot believe how thoughtless they are. Jazmyn brought up laundry for Jeremiah. Yay! I could faint. I’m so proud. She sets it on the other side of the baby gate while Jozlynn is cleaning the living room. Jozlynn completely ignored it once she learned it was Jeremiah’s. The idea that she could move it ten feet to her brother’s room was unheard of.

Jeremiah made it his personal mission, or at least that is what is seemed, to point out everything his siblings missed while doing their chores. This in turn taught the girls to do the same. It got to the point that I had to ban that action. They were no longer aloud to criticize chores. The down-right malice in their action was sickening.

The older three have visits once a month with their biological mother. When they come back they are making fun and hurting each other’s feelings as though it was their goal to belittle and harm. It is getting to the point where I’m starting to question if these visits are doing more harm than good.

So, what do I do? I’m not perfect. My instant reaction is to get mad. Oh, man do I get mad. The problem is getting mad doesn’t help. Not at all. It makes it worse. So, then I try and do nice things for them, just because. I try to set an example. It isn’t working. Maybe it needs more time. They seem to appreciate it but maybe also expect it. Crap, this is backfiring.

All four kids at the pacific ocean

I have come up with an idea that will reward them for kind acts. As a bonus, it will also get them to do their chores better. This could backfire too. My kids have a talent for taking the wrong lesson. Maybe they need a better teacher. Uh, pause. Rethink this, I can teach them to be good people by being a good person. Okay, start.

We’re going on vacation soon. It will be epic. I read somewhere, in one of the millions of blogs I read, about letting kids earn money for vacation spending. They will have a budget and if they spend it frivolously it will be a lesson learned, and I will not have to go over budget buying crap. Also, I can reward them for kindness to their sibling without outright paying them. It’ll be points that ultimately translate to money.


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