Sibling struggles

Barbara Olinger, MSW Parenting Consultant, shares advice for parents on how to help their kids resolve sibling struggles and how to balance the need for privacy and shared space
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Sibling struggles

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Younger siblings often want to follow older siblings around wanting to do everything that they want to do. Sometimes it's hard to manage this. One of the crucial things is to allow the older sibling to have their private space. The other thing is to allow them to pick which things they want to share with their younger siblings, and which things are private for them. For the older sibling, they need a place to go and they need their own things. We also want to support them in their feelings. It can sometimes be hard having a younger brother. We also want to help them set appropriate limits. We have to help the younger sibling at times to hear those limits. "Your brother is telling you he needs more space right now. Is there something that we can do together?" We want those siblings to negotiate as much as possible, but we often need to help the younger sibling hear the older sibling's limits.

Barbara Olinger, MSW Parenting Consultant, shares advice for parents on how to help their kids resolve sibling struggles and how to balance the need for privacy and shared space

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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through Amazon.com

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