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Friends and Family: The Adoptive Sibling Bond

breanna-jon1One of the biggest fears that many parents share after adoption is whether their children will get along. It’s important to remember that there is always an adjustment period. Even if things may not look promising at the start, be patient and don’t stress too much as added tension will only complicate the situation.

Adoptive siblings are no different than biological siblings. They may or may not like each other, and sometimes they will simply not get along. Just because they are not best friends doesn’t mean they won’t bond with each other.

Here are just a few tips on gently coaxing the bonding process between adoptive siblings.

Encourage Playtime

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the trick here is to try to find games or activities that they both enjoy. If they can find common ground at playtime, it will be an enormous help in the bonding process. There may not be specific toys or games that capture everyone’s interest, so consider something different like taking them to a playground. Even though they might not be directly playing with each other at the playground, they are enjoying a shared experience. In time, they may very naturally choose to include each other because most children would rather always have playmates. Most importantly, if they are in a state of happiness, they are more likely to accept others around them without a second thought.

Group Projects

Unless your adoptive children are completely unwilling to work together, group projects make for excellent bonding time. Again, try to find activities that appeal to everyone, like a fun arts and crafts project, picking flowers for a bouquet, or even organizing new toys in their play area. It will help push them to communicate if they are working together towards a common goal, and it helps them each feel a sense of accomplishment. Encourage them to think of it as a team effort so they each have individual importance as members of the same team unit.

Be a Good Listener

Each of your children will have their own complex mix of emotions and thoughts about their new home dynamic. It is very important to take the time and listen to any of their questions and concerns, demonstrating respect for their individual feelings. Whenever possible, talk them through any issues that may arise and use the utmost in diplomacy when settling any disputes between them. No one chooses conflict, even children. You may be surprised how perceptive and insightful your children can be about any complicated situation. They know better than anyone what they need to foster a stronger relationship with their siblings.

Remember that bonding between adoptive siblings may take some time. It will be a unique experience for everyone, so pay attention to their individual needs. Don’t push too hard for them to just blindly embrace each other’s presence, as that will almost always backfire and ignite conflict. Keep things light, fun, loving, and don’t overthink little bumps in the road. All family relationships have their good and bad days!