When our children were very young, they would disagree and get upset with each other. I had always been taught sibling rivalry was normal, but in my heart I hoped it was not. I knew:
1. The child who suffers sibling rivalry is miserable.
2. The child suffering sibling rivalry will turn to friends instead of the siblings.
3. The home becomes a place of unrest, discontentment, and disharmony.
4. Bad habits are formed at an early age as a result of sibling rivalry. These bad habits are the sins of:
D. Unfriendly Competition
F. Bullying and maliciousness (sibling abuse)
5. Bad Habits formed early are hard to break. I still wrestle with bad habits learned in the younger years that want to creep back into my adult life. Bad habits can be overcome, but it sure is much easier to not start bad habits at a young age in the first place.
6. The sinful destructive habits resulting from sibling rivalry in the home can easily be carried into one’s future home causing problems in the marriage.
We can help our children avoid early sinful habits by NOT believing the lie that sibling rivalry is normal, and by working to encourage sibling harmony.
I asked the Lord for wisdom about sibling rivalry, because that was something I did not want for our children. The Lord showed me something:
1. Disagreements are a part of life. The disagreement is not sibling rivalry.
2. It is the ways the disagreements are handled that are important. Handling disagreements in an immature manner is one outcome of sibling rivalry.
3. When our children have disagreements, it is a “teaching moment” to teach them to get along with others and to handle the disagreement in a wise way. Our children should be better prepared for life and for marriage, if they learned to get along well with those in the home and to handle disagreements well.
The Bible teaches that (1.) every child is foolish and (2.) every child cannot be left to himself. See Proverbs 29:15 and Proverbs 22:15.
Our little children can’t figure out by themselves how to handle problems with their siblings. They desperately need parental instruction.
Parental instruction starts when you hear the child say “mine”. Seeing the other child taking the toy away and running off is a time for parents to step in and patiently help. Our darling little children have to be taught to share and to be unselfish. They don’t know how. It comes easy to them to be jealous of the other. They must be taught to want the best for their sibling. It comes natural to compete in an unfriendly way. Kind competition must be taught. Good character is both taught and caught.
We taught our children to get along with each other and to desire to be best friends with one another. So grateful to God for His wisdom.
Homeschool was the perfect environment for us to teach our children to be best friends. Our children were loyal to us, but they were best friends with their siblings. Our children had many friends but preferred each other over their friends. We enjoyed a peaceful home. After the toddler years, our children did not fuss with each other (except on a rare occasion); they learned to solve their problems with their siblings in a wise manner, thank the Lord.
Let’s help our children prepare for marriage. Let’s help our children love others. Let’s help our children learn to calmly handle life’s problems. Let’s help our children by not allowing sibling rivalry in the home.
Sibling Rivalry is not normal. Sibling Harmony is God’s way!
Part 2~Coming Soon