Encouraging words on sibling rivalry

Posted by  | Friday, October 1, 2010  at 7:26 AM  
I cannot begin to describe how encouraged and convicted I have felt reading the articles on sibling rivalry this week. My kids struggle with this, naturally, and too many times I snap at the them to stop, or discipline the main 'instigator', instead of getting to the heart of the matter. I appreciate the encouragement to treat the heart condition as much as the actions.

Recently I posed a question on Facebook about a sibling rivalry issue I was having, and I was greatly encouraged by the thoughtful, Scriptural responses I received from friends. I have copied the online 'dialogue' below, as perhaps it will encourage another mom who is reading this.

My question on Facebook--How do you teach your children that taunting ("Hey, look, I have your toy!") is wrong? it is a concept my child does not seem to grasp yet.

* Friend #1* I know, we have the same problem and it is not like she is trying to be mean. Karis loves to say to Karlie, "this is mine and it is not for you!" She just wants Karlie to know not to touch it. I do think they just don't grasp it, yet, but we always reprimand her and tell her it is not "kind" to tell Karlie what she cannot have.We have two main themes with our training right now, telling her that she needs to "obey" and be "kind" :)

*My response* G is also not trying to be REALLY mean, but she does like B to know when she has something of his, even if he is not playing with it (yesterday, when he was not paying attention, she said "look Baxter I'm sitting in your chair", which just made him scream). We have talked about it being mean and unkind, but I think we need to focus on that more. Thanks for the tips! Keep them coming!

*Friend #2* My boys especially struggle with this often. We have taught them the verse that says, "As much as it depends on me, live in peace with all men." So when it happens we ask them what they are doing to promote living in peace with each other. Since they obviously aren't we talk about ways they can promote peace with each other. It has been pretty helpful for us although they have to be reminded often :)

*Friend #3* We stress obeying and being respectful and being kind from your heart. So even if it's not something that's she's been expressly forbidden to do (like take toy X from the babies) I ask, are you being kind in your heart? When the answer is no, it's Eph 4:32 time! I know she does not fully get it now, but we talk about God's kindness and forgiveness to us and how we spread that to others. I'm hoping to plant seeds that grow in time!

*Friend #4* Sounds like someone trying to start a fight... to stir something up, whether she quite realizes it or not. It's definitely the beginning of a battle. I pull out Prov. 6:16-19 - 7 things God hates. The first six are totally understandable to most people (pride, lying, murder, etc). The last is “one who stirs up discord among brethren.” Some translations say brothers instead of brethren, making it even more effective in our home. Definitely reminds my boys that God hates this type of behavior and they should have no part in it. When your #3 arrives, it will be even more applicable!

*Friend #5* I have just started making my kids "redo" situations -- for instance after "I have your toy" I'd correct her and make her say "thank you for sharing your toy." I have found with my kids that just telling them to be respectful or kind isn't quite enough--I am trying to help them to know how to follow through. And of course, add scripture, character training, etc. etc. I am sure you're doing all that too!

*Friend #6* What a great list of Biblical wisdom! Praise God! I'll add the verses that we like to use which seem to apply to the heart issue here. We like to use 1 Cor. 13... Love does not envy, love does not boast. And talk about how love means seeking the (true) joy of another, that we are made to share one another's joy, not to be happy because our neighbor does not have what we have, etc.... I like [the above] addendum also - engage in the "redo"!

Praise the Lord for friends who encourage us, and spur us on to godliness!

1 comment:

The Morgan Family said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! We are going through the same thing over at our house and I find myself reminding them to be kind, but seeing that that is not enough. I definitely feel that the Lord used you and your friends to give me wisdom. Thank you

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