Nothing is worse than being in the car when your kids start nit-picking at each other. The encounter soon erupts like a volcano with words spewing at an ever-increasing volume. Add the word mom to the mix and it can leave any mom frazzled and ready to pull over and ditch the car along the road.
There’s something about the small space of the car and the inability to judge volume in a youngster that can set a cool and collected parent off the Richter scale.
I don’t know about your family, but it’s more often than not, my kids are clawing at each other and heaving unloving words towards one another. I understand sibling rivalry is normal, but doesn’t it break a little corner off our hearts when we observe that our kids can’t get along with their siblings?
Bonds for Life
As a parent, how do we encourage our children’s relationships with each other?
What do we do and not do that will ensure they remain bonded for life?
Have you ever read about the Dassler brothers? They were two brothers who were partners in a shoe company. Adi was the designer and maker of the shoes, while Rudi was the salesman.
Through a series of conflicts, the men decided to separate the company. Adi’s company became Adidas and Rudi’s company Puma. The rift between the two of them lasted over 60 years. They died within four years of each other, and were buried at opposite ends of the cemetery.
Am I the only who thinks this is heart-breaking?
When we look to the Bible, we see Cain and Abel. They had a strained relationship which ended in death for Abel.
Or the story of Joseph and his brothers, they threw their brother into a pit and then sold him into slavery. The Bible says they hated him and planned how they would get rid of him.
Abraham’s sons, Isaac and Ishmael, became nations which are still feuding today. Ishmael is said to be the father of the Arab nations and Isaac the father of Israel.
What Not to Do As a Parent
- Show favorites.
- Compare your children.
- Label them.
- Give more attention to one, but not the other.
- Tolerate aggression, then relationships suffer
- Buy them a colorful coat of many colors (some humor here).
According to Psychology Today, when siblings get along they enjoy higher life satisfaction and have lower rates of depression. Siblings bring the best emotional and psychological support during life crises. 1
After all, siblings have a shared history and the relationship is life-long. Even if you don’t get along with your sibling, they still share a spot in your heart. Therefore, we can definitely love our sibling, without liking them.
Satan is all too happy to cause divisions in our families. If he can divide siblings, the wedge can further expand into the rest of the family. As a result, he’s conquered us when the family is estranged and broken off from each other.
Finding the Answer in God’s Word
Best Practices for Encouraging Sibling Relationships
- Pray for your children’s relationship.
- Model Christian relationships with your own siblings.
- Show respect for others.
- Teach empathy.
- Trust and let go to God.
- Invest time in each of your children.
- Remind them that they are each made in the image of God, differences make the family complete.
- Teach conflict resolution and forgiveness.
- Foster individual interests.
- Direct your children to pray for each other.
We need to sow these seeds within our kids and then leave it to God to watch the seeds take off and grow.
Only God can solidify our children’s relationship and keep them loving.
Instilling the importance of a relationship with our Savior can give our kids the ability to be… Click To Tweet
Colossians 3:14 (NIV)
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
As we use these tips and techniques out in our families, I hope that carload of your most precious treasures can reach a destination filled with love and harmony (or at least see a decrease in the volcanoes erupting). No more threats of pulling the car the over.
“To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” – Clara Ortega
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