BBFs: Exploring ways to encourage positive brother relationships

Best brothers forever!

I want to start by letting you know, I don’t have a brother by blood but I have a few people in my life that are pretty darn close. But what truly inspired me to delve into the topic of brotherhood is the bond between my two sons, who are three years apart in age. Witnessing their close relationship as they navigate their early teen years has been a source of immense joy and pride for me as a parent. So, what has contributed to fostering such a strong, supportive, and positive sibling dynamic between them? How have my partner and I encouraged the development of this bond?

Let’s go.

Promote Open Communication

Healthy communication is key to any successful relationship, including those between siblings. Encourage an open and non-judgmental environment where each child feels heard and understood. Foster active listening skills, and teach your children the importance of expressing themselves honestly and respectfully.


  1. Sharing Stories: Encourage siblings to share stories about their day, allowing each child to express themselves and providing an opportunity for active listening from the other sibling.
  2. Problem-Solving Together: When conflicts arise, encourage siblings to communicate openly about their feelings and work together to find solutions that satisfy both parties.
  3. Discussing Feelings: Teach siblings to verbalize their emotions and discuss how they feel about various situations, helping them understand each other’s perspectives better.
  4. Setting Boundaries: Encourage siblings to communicate their boundaries and respect each other’s personal space and belongings.
  5. Expressing Appreciation: Encourage siblings to express appreciation for each other’s help, kindness, or support, fostering a positive atmosphere of gratitude.
  6. Collaborating on Tasks: Encourage siblings to work together on tasks or projects, promoting teamwork and effective communication skills.
  7. Active Listening: Teach siblings to actively listen to each other without interrupting, ensuring that each child feels heard and understood.
  8. Seeking Input: Encourage siblings to seek each other’s input or advice on various matters, fostering a sense of mutual respect and trust.
  9. Apologizing and Forgiving: Teach siblings the importance of apologizing when they make mistakes and forgiving each other, promoting empathy and understanding.
  10. Having Family Meetings: Hold regular family meetings where siblings can openly discuss any concerns or issues they may have, promoting a supportive and collaborative family dynamic.

Create Shared Experiences

Shared experiences can create lasting memories and strengthen the sibling bond. Plan family activities that cater to everyone’s interests. Whether it’s a weekend hike, a movie night, or a cooking session, these shared moments contribute to a sense of camaraderie and unity.


  1. Family Game Night: Set aside a night each week for playing board games, card games, or video games together as a family. Rotate who gets to choose the game to ensure everyone’s interests are considered.
  2. Outdoor Adventures: Plan a weekend hiking trip, biking excursion, or camping adventure where siblings can explore nature together, bond over shared experiences, and create lasting memories.
  3. Movie Marathon: Choose a series of movies or a theme for a movie marathon at home. Pop some popcorn, snuggle up on the couch, and enjoy watching films together as a family.
  4. Baking or Cooking Together: Spend an afternoon in the kitchen baking cookies, making homemade pizza, or preparing a special meal together. Let each sibling take on different tasks and enjoy the delicious results as a family.
  5. Arts and Crafts: Set up a creative space at home with art supplies, crafting materials, or DIY projects. Encourage siblings to express their creativity and work on projects together, whether it’s painting, sculpting, or crafting handmade gifts.
  6. Sports and Physical Activities: Play sports like soccer, basketball, or frisbee together in the backyard or at a local park. Engaging in physical activities promotes teamwork, healthy competition, and a sense of togetherness.
  7. Family Road Trip: Plan a road trip to a nearby destination or explore new sights and attractions together. Pack snacks, create a playlist of favorite songs, and enjoy the journey as a family.
  8. Volunteering Together: Find opportunities for the family to volunteer at a local charity, community event, or environmental cleanup project. Working together for a common cause fosters a sense of compassion and unity among siblings.
  9. DIY Science Experiments: Conduct fun and educational science experiments at home together. Whether it’s making slime, creating a baking soda volcano, or exploring the wonders of magnets, siblings can learn and have fun while bonding over hands-on activities.
  10. Family Traditions and Rituals: Establish meaningful family traditions or rituals that siblings can participate in together, such as celebrating holidays, birthdays, or special occasions in unique ways that hold significance for your family.

Encourage Teamwork Through Games

Introduce cooperative games that require teamwork, collaboration, and shared effort. Board games, puzzle solving, or team sports not only provide entertainment but also teach valuable lessons in cooperation, compromise, and working towards common goals.

  1. Pandemic: In this cooperative board game, players work together as members of a disease control team to prevent global outbreaks and find cures for four deadly diseases.
  2. Forbidden Island: Players must work together to retrieve treasures from a sinking island before it completely disappears underwater. Each player has a unique role and abilities to contribute to the team’s success.
  3. Escape Room Games: Whether played in-person or virtually, escape room games require players to solve puzzles and unravel mysteries within a set time limit, promoting teamwork and communication to escape.
  4. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes: In this virtual reality or tabletop game, one player must defuse a bomb while the other players provide instructions from a bomb defusal manual, requiring clear communication and quick thinking to succeed.
  5. Overcooked!: This chaotic cooking simulation game requires players to work together in a kitchen to prepare and serve orders while overcoming various obstacles and challenges.
  6. Spaceteam: Players work together as a spaceship crew, shouting technobabble instructions to each other to prevent their ship from crashing, promoting fast-paced communication and coordination.
  7. The Mind: A card game where players must work together to play cards in ascending order without communicating verbally, relying solely on intuition and teamwork.
  8. Captain Sonar: Two teams operate submarines in real-time naval battles, with each player assuming a specific role (such as captain, engineer, or radio operator) and coordinating actions to outmaneuver the opposing team.
  9. Rocket League: In this video game, players control rocket-powered cars to play soccer in high-speed matches, requiring teamwork, strategy, and coordination to score goals and win matches.
  10. Charades: A classic party game where players take turns acting out words or phrases without speaking while their teammates try to guess the correct answer, promoting teamwork and non-verbal communication skills.

Celebrate Individual Achievements

While nurturing the sibling bond, it’s equally important to acknowledge and celebrate each child’s individual achievements. Recognize their unique talents and strengths, and encourage them to support each other’s endeavors. This helps foster a sense of pride and mutual respect.


  1. Acknowledging Academic Accomplishments: Celebrate when each sibling achieves academic success, whether it’s receiving good grades, winning an award, or mastering a difficult subject.
  2. Recognizing Extracurricular Achievements: Applaud each sibling’s achievements in extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art, or volunteering, highlighting their dedication and accomplishments in their chosen pursuits.
  3. Sharing in Creative Endeavors: Celebrate each sibling’s creative achievements, such as writing a story, composing music, creating artwork, or designing a project, by showcasing their talents and expressing pride in their creativity.
  4. Supporting Personal Milestones: Celebrate important personal milestones, such as learning to ride a bike, overcoming a fear, or achieving a personal goal, by acknowledging their efforts and offering words of encouragement.
  5. Cheering for Performances or Competitions: Attend and cheer for each sibling’s performances, competitions, or presentations, showing support and enthusiasm for their efforts and achievements.
  6. Creating a Wall of Achievements: Dedicate a space in the home to display each sibling’s certificates, awards, artwork, or photos of memorable achievements, creating a visual reminder of their individual successes.
  7. Hosting Family Celebrations: Organize special family celebrations or outings to commemorate significant achievements, such as graduations, promotions, or milestones, allowing each sibling to shine and feel valued.
  8. Encouraging Self-Expression: Celebrate each sibling’s unique personality and interests by encouraging them to express themselves authentically and pursue activities that bring them joy and fulfillment.
  9. Offering Words of Encouragement: Provide words of encouragement, praise, and affirmation to each sibling for their efforts, progress, and resilience in overcoming challenges, fostering confidence and self-esteem.
  10. Expressing Gratitude and Pride: Take the time to express gratitude and pride in each sibling’s achievements, emphasizing the importance of their contributions and the positive impact they have on the family dynamic.

Teach Conflict Resolution Skills

Conflicts are inevitable, but teaching your children how to resolve disagreements peacefully is a valuable skill they’ll carry into adulthood. Guide them through effective communication, compromise, and finding common ground. Encourage them to express their feelings constructively and to actively seek solutions.


  1. Model Healthy Conflict Resolution: Lead by example by demonstrating calmness, respect, and empathy when resolving conflicts within the family.
  2. Encourage Active Listening: Teach siblings to listen attentively to each other’s perspectives without interrupting, validating their feelings and promoting understanding.
  3. Practice Empathy: Help siblings understand each other’s feelings and viewpoints by encouraging them to put themselves in each other’s shoes and consider how their actions affect one another.
  4. Use “I” Statements: Encourage siblings to express their feelings and concerns using “I” statements (e.g., “I feel frustrated when…”) to avoid blaming or accusing each other during conflicts.
  5. Teach Problem-Solving Skills: Guide siblings through the process of identifying the root cause of conflicts, brainstorming potential solutions together, and evaluating the pros and cons of each option.
  6. Promote Compromise: Emphasize the importance of finding middle ground and making concessions to reach a mutually acceptable resolution during conflicts.
  7. Establish Ground Rules: Set clear and fair guidelines for resolving conflicts, such as taking turns speaking, avoiding name-calling or shouting, and focusing on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the problem.
  8. Encourage Time-Outs: Teach siblings to recognize when emotions are escalating and encourage them to take a break from the situation to calm down before attempting to resolve the conflict.
  9. Provide Mediation Support: Act as a mediator when needed, helping siblings navigate conflicts by facilitating communication, encouraging cooperation, and guiding them towards finding solutions together.
  10. Celebrate Successful Resolutions: Acknowledge and praise siblings when they successfully resolve conflicts peacefully, reinforcing positive behavior and encouraging them to continue using their conflict resolution skills in the future.

Lead by Example

Children often model their behavior based on what they see at home. Demonstrate positive communication, empathy, and cooperation in your own interactions. Your example sets the tone for how your children relate to one another and navigate their relationships outside the family.


  1. Show Respect: Demonstrate respect towards your partner, other family members, and your children, modeling respectful communication and behavior for your children to emulate.
  2. Practice Active Listening: Listen attentively when your children speak, giving them your full attention and showing them the importance of listening and understanding others.
  3. Express Empathy: Show empathy and compassion towards your children’s feelings and experiences, validating their emotions and teaching them to be empathetic towards each other.
  4. Resolve Conflicts Peacefully: Handle conflicts with your partner or other family members calmly and constructively, modeling effective conflict resolution skills for your children to learn from.
  5. Share Responsibilities: Divide household tasks fairly and involve your children in age-appropriate chores, teaching them the value of cooperation and teamwork in accomplishing shared goals.
  6. Communicate Openly: Foster an environment of open communication in your family, encouraging your children to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with honesty and respect.
  7. Show Affection: Demonstrate affection towards your partner and children through hugs, kisses, and verbal expressions of love, nurturing a warm and loving atmosphere in your home.
  8. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and rules for behavior within the family, enforcing them consistently and fairly to teach your children the importance of respect and responsibility.
  9. Celebrate Achievements: Celebrate your children’s successes, big or small, and encourage them to celebrate each other’s accomplishments, fostering a supportive and encouraging dynamic among siblings.
  10. Seek Help When Needed: Be willing to seek help or guidance when facing challenges in your own relationships or parenting, modeling the importance of seeking support and working through difficulties together.


Building positive sibling relationships is an ongoing process that requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to fostering a supportive family environment. By implementing these strategies and encouraging open communication, shared experiences, and teamwork, you’ll contribute to the development of strong and enduring bonds among your children. As they grow, these positive relationships will become a foundation for their social interactions and connections throughout their lives.