When you’re living in a home, it’s very normal and natural to have conflicts with who you’re living with. Sibling rivalry, sibling conflict – it’s normal, but it’s not so much fun. So I always teach kids tools – imagination tools – that can make a difference for them in their lives.
First, don’t underestimate stress. When kids are stressed, our fuses are much shorter. So it’s a good idea to teach kids the 0 to 10 scale – 0 is no stress, 10 is the most you could have. And they could check in periodically. Where are they in their stress? And if it’s a little high, they might bring it down by doing some deep breathing like balloon breath, or imagining a safe place to be. And just chill.
Then, when you move on, I’m thinking about another little girl who was desperate – desperate for a new brother or sister. But when the baby arrived, it was a whole different story, because the baby took up so much attention. So although she had love in her heart for the baby, she also had hate and it was in her toe. And so we first tried to use her imagination by imagining sending the love to her toe where the hate or sadness was and it went all the way to her ankle, but then, there was a door. And it was closed. And she couldn’t get the love in. So then we had to talk to that feeling and we negotiated with it what with help opened the door. And she realized through kind of connecting with her animal friend’s advice that she could get more attention by spending time with her mom and also helping the baby. It made a big difference once she realized she could too get attention she needed, then the door opened and the love went down to her toe and it shifted how she felt about her brother.
Or another little boy who was driven crazy by his annoying little sister as they can be. As I was once. And what he did, was he called upon an animal friend and a little bird showed up. A little blue bird that whispered in his ear and said, “Instead of like punching your sister, go and punch a pillow – you won’t get in trouble that way.” So it was perfect for him.
And these are just two examples of how kids can use their imagination to help at home when they’re having trouble with their brothers and sisters.