Raising Siblings Without Rivalry – Part 3 – MBFLP 253-3

Part 3 – Building Friendship Between Your Children

We want our kids to be friends and allies, not rivals and opponents, but that takes some conscious effort. As parents, we can make both the positive and negative efforts to build friendship and avoid tearing it down. How can we prevent harsh feelings between our kids? And better, how can we promote affection and goodwill toward siblings?

Practical Ideas

Remember your kids learn from your example – all the time. If you want to raise kids who are kind, you need to live and speak in kindness at home. They are always watching, even when you don’t think you’re teaching and when they don’t realize they’re learning.

Do your kids really believe there’s justice in your family? Unfair treatment from a parent might be favoritism toward one child – the only girl in a family of boys, the “baby” of the family, or anyone singled out (think about Joseph in the Bible!). It can also be one child who gets blamed for everything – the one who’s “the usual suspect” in every situation. One way we provoke our children (Colossians 3:21) is by jumping to conclusions when there’s trouble between the kids – dig deeper and be sure you’ve dealt with both the reaction and the cause!

Protect their dignity in front of their siblings. We made a point, as much as possible, to correct or discipline children privately, not in front of the family. Don’t give ammunition for teasing, or reason for a child to feel defensive and wary around the family.

Encourage acts of service for siblings – look for ways they can bless one another. Whether it’s offered as an apology for past bad behavior, or an expression of love and kindness just because, cultivate a spirit of thoughtfulness between the kids.

Help them understand and look for others’ point of view.  Some kids are thoughtless about how their behavior hurts or offends others. On the other hand, some kids are quick to assume the worst and take offense where none was given. Teach them that intentions are important, but perception and reception are important too and sometimes a bigger problem than the intention!

Suggest activities they’ll want to do together – on the condition they do them togetherBake cookies, provide projects they cooperate on, look for shared experiences and adventures. Shared memories are the ties that draw them together in later life. Often it’s the smaller things

Passages We Referenced

 

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. – Proverbs 31:26

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another … – Ephesians 4:32

… be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 – what love is, and is not

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. – Proverbs 19:11

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Colossians 3:21 (also Ephesians 6:4)

 

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Part 1 – [ Principles for Preventing Sibling Rivalry ]

Part 2 – [ Making Competition Helpful, Not Hurtful ]

Part 3 –

 

Stopping Sibling Squabbling – MBFLP 213


Stopping Sibling Squabbling

If your child has siblings it’s just about certain they’ll have squabbling. Sibling rivalry of one sort or another is unpleasant but normal – the question for us as parents is, “What can I do about it? How can I deal with the bickering and arguments, to make our home a place of peace and harmony?” In this episode we talk about what we’ve learned raising our family of eight strong-willed, opinionated, energetic, competitive kids!

Stopping Sibling Squabbling

Your Family is Meant to Be an Example

The Bible has many passages which suggest that our family relationships are an illustration of spiritual truths. When Paul talks about the relationship of husbands and wives, he concludes, “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:32) How can we understand the new relationship of fellow believers in the church? By comparing it to the fellowship of parents to children and siblings with one another (1 Timothy 5:1-2). When Jesus is called “a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” (Proverbs 18:24) that makes no sense if brotherhood is all about fighting, arguments, and hostility!

Some Practical Guidelines

We’ve established some household rules that are meant to create or maintain a culture of peace and harmony!

  1. No Name Calling – Names are important in the Bible, and if our kids have a complaint with one another, theyr’e not allowed to sling nicknames or taunts at each other. Never – not even using a common nickname that the child doesn’t want. If you always go by Edward, you might consider Teddy an undesirable handle!
  2. No Bullying or Pestering – Bullying is using your greater strength, size, or another advantage, to intimidate and persecute other people. Pestering is using your lesser ability to lay traps for the stronger sibling, then running to Mama as a “victim.”
  3. Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice – And weep with those that weep (Romans 12:16). The Bible tells us to come alongside our brethren in the church and share in their feelings. We encourage the same standard with our children.
  4.  Remember We’re On The Same Team – We don’t let our children get a I-win-you-lose mentality toward their siblings, and we encourage them to see one sibling’s success as a victory for Team Family. Sure, they play games and compete that way, but in day to day life, we encourage them to think in terms of cooperation and collaboration, not trying to “beat” their brother or sister.

A Long Term Project

Just a few days ago, two of our teenagers were having a disagreement. Hal sat them down and gave them a simple challenge – that every day, moment by moment, they were making decisions about how to interact. Are they working to build unity, harmony, and love within the family? Or are their words and actions tearing that down?

It’s important to remember two things. First, that this is a life-long process. We still have to remind, rebuke, coach, and encourage our kids, long after they’re teenagers. It’s not a simple checklist on the fridge that fixes everybody’s attitude in an afternoon!

But secondly, we need to keep close in mind that we homeschoolers are the primary source of our children’s socialization. Sure, they may pick up undesirable words or attitudes from media, group meetings, or friends, but since they spend most of their time with their parents, we have to be honest. When we find a social behavior that we don’t like, they may very well be picking it up from us. If the children are disrespectful to Mom, are they following Dad’s example? If they have a sarcastic tone, are they imitating Mom? We need to live our own lives in our family to be a pattern for our kids. The family life they see around their dinner table every day is very likely to be the family life our grandchildren experience one day!

RESOURCES WE MENTIONED

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Interested in having Hal or Melanie speak at your event? CLICK HERE for information!

Come Away Weekend – our marriage retreat and giveaway – Flat Rock, NC – October 19-21

Special Needs Conference for Gifted and Struggling Learners – Orlando, FL – November 16-17

 


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