When our daughter was little, someone asked her if she wanted a sibling. She looked at them seriously, “No, I’m good. Siblings just get you in trouble a lot!” She was actually pretty wise. I’m sure there is some expensive study somewhere, but I would imagine a huge percentage of parental correction involves sibling issues.
It’s easy to understand how sibling issues begin. A child who has been the center of his parents’ universe for two or three years suddenly has a baby sibling who gets the attention of everyone, all of the time! Or an older sibling thinks their seniority means they can force younger siblings to do their bidding. Or a younger sibling thinks they should get extra everything because they were last on the scene. If you have siblings, I’m sure you could add to the list.
Left uncorrected though, these issues can grow and develop into siblings who can barely tolerate each other – even as adults. Or to a home filled with constant sibling conflicts. Worse yet, the negative behaviors that develop can then be transferred to how your kids treat the other people in their lives.
There are ways though to raise kids who are close to each other. Siblings who treat each other well and have supportive relationships. Here are our top tips for raising loving siblings:
- Teach your kids God wants them to love, serve and be kind to each other.
- Remind your kids your family is a TEAM for God.
- Teach your kids each one of them has special gifts from God they can use to serve each other, your family and God.
- Do not let your kids use ugly words when speaking to each other.
- Do not let your kids tease or say ugly things about each other.
- Teach your kids how to end conflicts in Godly ways. If you aren’t quite sure how to do that, our free printable parenting resource on the topic can help.
- Encourage your kids to express their love for each other regularly.
- Help your kids think of ways to encourage and serve each other. Encourage them to do these things regularly.
- Do not treat one child with more or less love and kindness than your other children.
- Work together as a family on service projects, sharing your faith and family projects.
Raising siblings who are loving to each other may take extra work. Being proactive is a lot more fun than having to constantly break up sibling arguments. In teh process, your kids will also learn a lot of great godly principles for treating everyone in loving ways.