…is what I hear some mothers say. I’m quite sure that they don’t literally mean All. The. Time, but I get the picture.
We have 4 children ages 17, 10, 8, and 7. Two of whom are girls and the remaining are boys. Ever since our children were very little we did not allow fighting or ongoing arguing. Whenever an argument would ensue we’d immediately step in and coach them on dealing with their differences in a civilized and respectful manner. One of the reasons we did this is because one, I’ve always had a low tolerance for noise and two, fighting is often a sign of sin on the horizon which started early on training the children to monitor.
I don’t have a fool proof secret to why they get along, but I will share some things we’ve done which have seemed cultivate a good relationship for my children.
1. Limit peer interaction.
I notice that when one of my children is with their peers too much, their sibling relationship breaks down. I think this is the biggest problem with public school children who are separated from each other all day. Sadly, they don’t learn to interact with one another as often as they should since they are apart more than together.
2. Schedule time that they play with one another.
The children have scheduled activities that they do with one another during the day. They each each other crafts and lessons or read to one another. I watch them take it upon themselves to play together which makes me so happy. My youngest children which include my 7 year old daughter and 6 year old son made up a game. One would read while the other would administer a shoulder and back massage. After each page they would switch roles. I wanted them to tidy up but couldn’t bring myself to interrupt their game.
3. Use God’s Word
Sibling problems are great for teaching the principles in Matthew chapter 5 and other areas of the Word. Often times if there is a problem I will take out the Bible and teach on what it says. For example, one Scripture is laying down your lives. By not asserting our rights with our siblings we are laying down our lives for them etc. I have them memorize a particular verse and put it into practice. You could find a way to do a reward when they are victorious in an area etc. One of my biggest helps in training my children with Scritpure has been the book “For Instruction in Righteousness”. My copy is well worn and I think every parent should have a copy!
4. Give Them Books To Read
I picked out this series of books and the children enjoyed taking turns reading to one another. Listening to the sound of one another voices allows them to be drawn in by the reader. They build relationships and memories the more time they spend together.
5. Teach Them Family Sticks Together
Instill in them while they are very young that families love one another and stick together. The world is an ugly place, and our home and family is refuge from it. If you set value on it, so will they!
6. Pluck Out The Root
Most of the time if they are not getting along, it is because their selfishness that has taken root in their hearts. If I notice this, I will call a day of serving one another, whether it be in the home or to others, we serve as a family with my children making something or writing a letter etc. By doing for others, the selfishness seems to fly out the window!
It is such a joy to see my children laugh and play together rather than fight and tattle. They don’t always get along, of course, but arguing and fighting is very rare. I think if you purpose to make your children honor, love and be Christ-like with each other, not only will they have great relationships with each other but also with other people as well. It is great training ground for their future.