Continuation of: Sibling Rivalry is Not Normal ~ Part 1
Let me ask you some questions:
1. While you were growing up, would you say you had a fairly good relationship with your siblings, or did you and your siblings not get along well?
2. If you had a good, close relationship with your siblings, did your parents encourage that behavior?
3. If you and your siblings did not get along well, do you wish today that your parents had stepped in and encouraged harmony between you and your siblings?
Instead of Sibling Rivalry, let us seek Sibling Harmony for our family! Sibling Harmony is God’s Way.
Kelly, a friend who homeschools, gave me permission to share her letter she wrote to me.
“I always use your family as a standard for how to raise my kids. For my children, your son and daughters are such amazing role models of young people who did it God’s way. Most people don’t understand why I have these standards for my kids, but the reason is, I have seen these standards succeed. Thank you!”
Kelly continues, “I also overwhelmingly agree with this statement you made to me and have taught my children it every day: ‘Brothers and sisters do not have to fight. They need to be each other’s best friend.’ I totally have made our three children believe this, and I love that they don’t fight. They never fight physically though sometimes disagree, but they are truly close. I am thankful to you for helping me realize that it’s okay and usually best to go against the world’s stereotype. I am eternally grateful!”
Because I was not a perfect parent, I cried out to God constantly for wisdom and searched the Bible for truth. Our standards we had in our family were not church standards, a friend’s standards, societies standards, but Bible standards. If God said it, we put it into practice. I believed, even before I was saved, “If I can’t trust God’s Word to be true, I have no hope.”
(1.) Every child is foolish. (Proverbs 22:15)
(2.) A child should not be left to himself. (Proverbs 29:15)
It meant so much to my husband and me for our children to get along. Why?
- We believed if siblings get along well, they will get along well with their future spouses. It happened! I wish you could ask our grown children’s spouses how well our children get along with them.
- We knew our children would have better character if they learned how to handle disagreements appropriately.
- We knew siblings would be happier getting along, rather than miserable and fighting.
- If siblings became best friends and showed each other kindness, our home would be peaceful.
It would take some doing on my part, but I needed to be more attentive to what was going on with our children. I tried very hard to be on top of things in order to intervene and train our children by teaching correct behavior. I needed Holy Spirit led parenting.
This is what we did:
1. We encouraged our children to work through conflicts in a respectful, productive and non-aggressive way. Name calling or mean teasing was not allowed.
Look at what the Lord has to say about teasing at another’s expense:
“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” Proverbs 26:18,19
2. If our children had a friend over and the friend was being unkind to the sibling, our children were taught to defend each other. Loyalty to family was taught.
3. We did not allow our children to raise their voices or to use physical aggression. “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” Proverbs 14:29
4. We daily read Proverbs as a family which encourages kindness and respect for others. Teach children to desire to please the Lord by showing love to each other. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1John 4:11
5. We usually did not allow our children to watch any shows with siblings being unkind to one another. If we happened to watch a show with siblings fighting or being mean spirited, we had a lesson on why that is not done in our home.
6. We emphasized to the older child, the importance of that position. She was the example to the younger children. Our eldest, Kristen turned out to be a tremendous example to her younger siblings by the time she was five. She took her position to be the example seriously. We taught Brandon, he was the example to his younger sister. Even the youngest can be taught privately she is the example to her older siblings. It is good for a child to realize their behavior is being watched, so they need to be a good example to others.
7. We did not show partiality to one child over the other. Genesis 37 is a good deterrent to that.
8. We did not put our children in a position for unfriendly competition with each other.
Note: Our children were loyal to us and honored us. Even though our children were extremely close to one another, they did not dishonor us by talking behind our backs to each other. We, as parents made sure we had our children’s hearts by having a close relationship with them. See: “Special Time With Mom” Kept Our Daughter From Rebelling
We just had all our grown children and their spouses and their families at our home for a week of enjoyment. It is so very wonderful to not only love our children’s spouses, but to like them and enjoy them too. We all get along so well. We are very blessed!!!
Our grown children and their spouses today:
Would you like to share any other suggestions that encourage sibling harmony instead of sibling rivalry?