We don’t have to look far to know sibling rivalry is real! How much is healthy? How can we curb it when it gets out of hand? Colleen, a seasoned camp mom, points us in a good direction on this topic.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
Today my grown children are best friends but it sure hasn’t always been that way. I remember often crying out to God, “Oh, Lord, Please help them to like each other someday!” Beginning in the first book of the Bible stories of sibling jealousy, competition and even hatred fill the pages. (Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Leah and Rachel, and Joseph and his brothers in Genesis)
Disagreement among siblings is a natural part of growing up because our children have unique differences, but arguing, constant bickering and tattling can be exasperating for the entire family. What are some things we as parents can do to help our kids grow in love and kindness toward one another?
- Relax a little, if they are not harming each other. Working out their differences is a life-long skill. If you are always intervening, they lose the opportunity to figure it out.
- Choose some Bible verses and Family Values together that encourage respect, kindness, honor and gentleness. Encourage them with praise and celebrate when you see them living out these values.
- Model ways to resolve a conflict to your children when they are not in the heat of a battle. Then, trust them to figure out their own solutions without always involving you. (Sometimes getting you in the middle of it is just what they want) They are often testing you to see if you will take a side) Don’t! It never matters who starts a fight. It always takes two.
- Create some rules and consequences together and stick to them. For example, No hitting, punching, or name-calling, EVER.(Create a consequence with them if it happens.) If the kids fight over a toy, the toy goes into time-out. (Every time) Any child who demands to be first, will go last.
- Never compare your children or ever say, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” This only instills competition and resentment.
God has blessed you with the incredible privilege of loving and celebrating the uniqueness in each of your children. May you learn to enjoy all the ways they reflect our Heavenly Father as you lead them to do the same with each other!
Read the verse on top of this page. The next time your brother or sister is angry with you, try practicing giving a gentle response. You’ll be amazed watching God’s truth in action.