It’s a familiar scene these days. One of my boys comes running into room where I am with other hot on his heels yelling or threatening to throw something. Usually there has been harsh words spoken, names called and feelings hurt. Honestly some days I just want to hide and not deal with it at all.
The truth is that my boys really love each other but like most people that spend alot of time together they also know how to push each other’s buttons. As a family we have committed to being best friends with our siblings but it does take lots of patience, grace and training.
4 Ways to Encourage Siblings to be Best Friends
These days sibling rivalry is viewed at something to be expected. Like it’s not a big deal to have brothers and sisters going at each other all the time. I completely disagree and it breaks my heart to see siblings behave this way. Over the years I have tried to instill in my boys the importance of cherishing the relationship they have with each other.
Here are a few things that are working for us right now as the training continues:
No Fighting. Period.
This has been a rule as long as I’ve been a mommy. I do not tolerate my boys hitting, kicking, pushing, etc. Now that doesn’t mean that they can’t rough house and wrestle. They are boys and I realize that is just built into how they were created. I’m talking about intentionally hurting each other. That’s not allowed.
I have been reminding my boys for years that God gave them a brother to love, help and play with not to hurt and hit.
It took a few years but my boys are well trained in how to truly apologize. “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it around here. When my boys are unkind to each other I make sure that they take the time to apologize to each other. That means admitting that they did something wrong, asking for forgiveness and then taking steps to repair the relationship.
Is it easy to get my boys to truly apologize? Nope. Sometimes pride gets in the way and they have to take some time to get their hearts right before going to talk to each other. That’s fine. I would rather it take them 30 minutes to apologize instead of throwing a casual “I’m sorry” to the wind without addressing the sin in their hearts.
My boys share just about everything. All the toys belong to both the children I don’t say this toys belongs to my oldest or the other way around. Why? Because we are a family. We share the toys, the dishes, the chores, the love and the fun. I want my boys to understand that it’s not about “me” when it comes to family and relationships it’s about the other person.
Before you start throwing tomatoes the boys to have things that are special to them. They are still required to share but we make sure that everyone is respectful and careful when playing with that special item. Likewise the boys have spots in the house where they can go to be alone. They know to ask permission before climbing into brother’s bed because that is his special place.
Serving each other
I am constantly encouraging my boys to look for ways to serve and help each other. They help each other with chores. My oldest has been helping his little brother sound out words he doesn’t know when they read together. If they are cleaning up and someone finishes their job first I encourage them to go ask if the other needs some help. I have found that this one thing really goes a long way especially when there’s ongoing tension or conflict between my boys.
I’m always on the lookout for biblical solutions to conflict and character issues in our home. When my friend Kim told me she was working on a bible study on sibling relationships I was very excited. She even sent me a copy for each of my boys so that we could try it out and I LOVE it!
My Brother’s Keeper takes your entire family on a journey through scripture to see what God has to say about sibling relationships. There are just 20 lessons to work through with your children as you look at different siblings in the bible and what God has to say about family.
There are two different versions of this study (youth and junior) and I really loved that you can them both together without any confusion. I was able to do each lesson with my boys during the week. I would do a little intro and then work through the lesson with my youngest (6) and I would send my oldest (9) off to work on his own. Then we would come back together to talk over questions and the lesson.
Being able to give my boys a biblical understand of why God gave them each a brother has bee a real blessing in our home. You definitely want to get this study for your family!