Last week my family took a drive through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Something about the mountains is good for my heart and soul. My daughters sat in the back seat and were, well, sisters. The topics of the primary argument (who gets time on the iPad) may be different than sibling disputes of generations past, but it all pretty much boils down to the same thing, doesn’t it?

As a mother, one of my top goals was to foster sibling relationships in hopes that they’d get along and realize the value of each other.

Based on our drive last week, I’m not very confident that I achieved any significant measure of success.

I’ve observed a variety of brothers and sisters who do and don’t get along and have had a difficult time pin-pointing the trends of what leads to great relationships and what leads to the Cane and Abel scenario.

University of Illinois professor Laurie Kramer has researched sibling relationships extensively. Here’s the list of tips she offers parents who would like to help build more positive relationships between their children:

•                Help your children learn to see things from their sibling's perspective and to respect other people's points of view.

•                Teach them to identify and manage their emotions and behaviors when they're in challenging and frustrating situations.

•                Teach your kids not to assume the worst about their sibling's or anyone else's intentions.

•                Show them that conflict is a problem that can be solved and teach them how to do it.

•                Try to meet each child's unique needs without showing favoritism.

•                Teach them to use their unique knowledge of each other to strengthen their bond rather than taking advantage of each other's weaknesses.

•                Promote play, conversation, mutual interests and fun.

•                Praise your kids when they help, support and cooperate with each other.