Posted by: Deborah Drezon Carroll | May 12, 2010

Secrets to Getting Your Kids to Love Each Other!

If I ever doubt that I have amazing daughters, I’ll just reread this entry….

This weekend, daughter #1 (birth order, not preference order) moved into her new house. Daughter #2 (ditto) went to New Jersey with us to help her move. We planned to stay the night because the next day was Mother’s Day and there was a brunch scheduled. Daughter #3 (ditto, yet again) had plans to go to the Phillies game with friends on Saturday so she couldn’t go to NJ that day but instead was going to come on Sunday to be with us for Mother’s Day.

Saturday morning, shortly after we got to the new house, we heard a voice at the door, “Hello..”

It was daughter #3 who woke up and decided she really should be at her sister’s house in NJ for moving day, rather than at the game. She surprised us all and came bearing cupcakes with lighthouses (of the Outer Banks, our favorite place) painted on them. Okay, the car heat took a toll on the lighthouses and they ended up looking like maps of the world but the thought definitely counted.

We unpacked, we cleaned, we laughed, we ate, and we thoroughly enjoyed the mess, chaos, and fun times.

I don’t know when a Mother’s Day weekend was better.

Did we raise amazing daughters? I gotta vote yes. I’m not sure I know what the secret to their terrificness is but, whatever it is, I’m glad it worked. These girls  love each other. They have bumps in the road of their sister relationships and they’re not always perfect (thank god, ’cause I couldn’t keep up with that), but they’re quite wonderful a lot of the time. Thanks, girls. As Duckie (our fav character from “Pretty in Pink”) says, “May I admire you?”

What advice would you guys give moms about the best way to help their kids love each other the way you do? One thing we did was to consistently remind our girls that sisters are a gift and a privilege and that as friends may come and go, your sisters are forever, but even those relationships are fragile and require constant and lifelong nurturing.

Shira writes:

Unfortunately, I think the 5 of us are close, because we don’t really have any extended family. I certainly wouldn’t condone cutting off the members of your extended family to achieve a closer immediate family unit. Most of my friends have grandparents, or aunts and uncles are cousins that they have a relationship with, at least on one side of the family. Maybe they don’t feel as much of a need to be loyal to their immediate family, because there are other people to turn to.

They really did not look like maps of the world; they looked like mush.

Mom writes: The cupcakes looked like love to me. 🙂 I think that you are right about your closeness to your sisters (and me and Dad) being partly as a result of our not having a lot of family but that also could have resulted in us all just being loners. I’m glad that didn’t happen.Plus, lots of folks have tiny families, but that still doesn’t make them caring and compassionate people, so give yourself some credit for becoming who you are. And, in case I haven’t said it enough, thanks for what you did in making Mother’s Day so loving.

Alexis Writes:

I think one of the reasons we are all so close is because it was not really an option for us to reject each other. We saw in our own family how much people’s siblings could hurt each other and we were always taught not to treat each other that way. I also remember that we were encouraged to play together pretty often. I don’t remember anyone being too annoying, although I found out years later that Tamra was listening to my phone conversations for several years. Even she admits they weren’t that exciting, though. I guess the thing is that we spent a lot of time together as a family, constantly taking trips and doing things together. We ate dinner together almost every night of the week. Spending a lot of time together as a family helped us grow to become friends. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all perfect, we get annoyed with each other. There are fights sometimes, but I’ve always said that friendships, even with sisters, are a lot like dating –you have to work on them just as much as a romantic relationship. I think as a family we worked really hard to have the relationships that we do today. So I guess if I were a Mom I would think about what I would want my children’s future relationships to look like and go from there.

Tamra Writes:

Okay, first of all, didn’t I outlaw “go from there”? I’m pretty sure I did. Anyway…I have to agree with Alexis. As kids, I remember having some neighborhood friends, but most of the time, we hung out with each other. We went on a lot of family trips together, but we spent a lot of time together at home, too. Eating dinner together every night, reading stories together before bed, getting our haircuts, going to each other’s soccer games or ballet recitals. It was ingrained in us from the very beginning that being a part of each other’s lives was important. Now that we’re older, we know each other really well. We know what we like and don’t like (which can be good and bad, since we know just how to annoy each other). We also know what’s going on in everyone’s life and since we’ve always done so much together, we have a whole lot in common too. Again, things aren’t always perfect (I’m always perfect, but the other two can be problematic). We can argue and bother each other, but we’ve always been taught that families and siblings are something special and you have to be careful with those relationships or they can be ruined. Although it is unfortunate that we don’t have a close extended family, it was kind of like having a bad cooperating teacher when student teaching. As we were growing up, we learned what NOT to do if you are trying to have a nice relationship with your family, and I think we were able to make better choices for ourselves. Besides, I wouldn’t want to go to Key West with anyone else…



  1. This is so beautifully written! You have done a fantastic job raising your daughters, and I’m sure they have learned a lot of how they act from how they see you nurturing your relationships. I am a mother of 3 amazing sons and 1 amazing daughter, and I look at my 2 older sons (19, 23) and how close they are with each other. They prefer to hang out with each other. I also admire how sweet and close they are with their 2 younger siblings (10 and 8)…I truly believe that all 4 of them will continue to be close all through their lives. We too try to eat as many meals as possible with each other, and spend most of our time together in our tiny house. None of my kids really want to go hang out with friends all that often, they would prefer to be with each other! I think it is just their personalities, and them watching me cultivate my relationships with my own 2 brothers and my friends whom I consider my sisters that I never had. I’m not sure if there is anything that you can DO to ensure that your kids will like each other as they grow, but to just lead by example, and nudge them along to be friends and loving to one another. My 8 year old daughter just asked her 10 year old brother last night: “Am I really your best friend?” He said “yes” How cool is that?

  2. I love that your daughter felt close enough to your son to ask that question and I love even more the way he answered. I also love that your brothers are your “sisters” because I do think that a good sibling isn’t dependent on gender. You have done many things right, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing your wonderful family with mine.

  3. I am so pleased that Mother’s Day turned out the way it did. There is something to be said for letting your kids know from the beginning that family is your priority. I can only hope that my daughters (who fight like crazy sometimes and would walk across hot coals for each other the rest of the time) are getting the same message.

  4. Yes, I agree that your children see your priorities and grow up accordingly. I suspect your daughters are off to a very good start.

  5. WOW! What an awesome blog you’ve created here! I have 3 children, Clara (11), Niko (8) & Sophie (3). I’m sad to say that most days, they dislike eachother and make that fact known. I’m always “trying” to make it better! Can’t wait to spend some alone time with your blog! =)

  6. Well, you know, they’re young. All of that may (and likely will) change as they get older and discover more about each other. My girls have always gotten along pretty well but it did get even better as they got older. Thanks so much for reading and even more for commenting!

  7. I have two daughters, and I’m so happy that they will have “forever friends” in each other for the rest of their lives. Your daughters are beautiful, by the way!

  8. Thanks for your sweet words about my girls. Yes, those “forever friends” really mean a great deal. You’re lucky that your girls feel the same way about it. I appreciate your stopping by!

  9. Wow, what an awesome blog you have! Do your daughters know about it? My son doesn’t have any siblings yet, but when we head down that road, I’ll definitely be visiting to get some tips on how to raise great siblings. Thank you so much for visiting my blog on my SITS day today, too – and please, let me know how your Brown Beauty Cake turns out!

  10. The cake’s in the oven and smells wonderful! Thanks!

  11. From a distance, you have all always been on my mind and in my heartbe proud of each other. L

    • We have long considered you a part of the small extended family that we really do feel closer to.

      • This is a great blog–I don’t think I wrote that earlier. You are an amazing family–I only wish we could share more together. Enjoy the Beach. L

  12. Hey guys, check out this site and # 13

  13. Happy SITS day! What beautiful ladies you are. I have 2 little girls and I wish there was a way to get them to stop bickering now. I do realize though, as one of 6 girls, that this will pass. My sisters are my best friends. After my first daughter was born, I thought she’d be an only child. After a couple of years, I realized I wanted for her a special relationship with a sibling like I have with my sisters (and 4 brothers) and we decided to go for 1 more. So glad we did, I pray they will have the great relationship you talk about and also like the ones I have with my sisters.

    We love OBX too!!

    • Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, they grow up and each of these phases pass. The bad news? They still bicker. But, since they don’t live with us anymore, we don’t have to hear it! Plus, the “bickersons” don’t stay around for long now that they’re older.

  14. Your blog is amazing. I not only love the focus on family, but also how it is unique in that all four of you write. I read this post because I have two sons who are 1 and 3, but always on my mind is the hope that they will grow to be good brothers.
    Much like you, we did not have extended family around so my relationship with my siblings is very close. I value it very much and hope my sons will benefit from such a wonderful relationship.
    Congratulations on your SITS day, ladies! I will be coming back many times 🙂

    • Well, if you’re coming back many times, we’ll get busy writing things that will be interesting and funny! Thanks!

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