“My kids fight all the time!”
“I can’t stand the arguing.”
“I just want some peace.”
Does this sound familiar? Do you want your kids to get along? Do you want your quiet back?
Or even better…
Do you want your kids to be friends not foes?
It seems times where attention is directed toward another sibling due to a celebration, like a birthday, or another’s success can stir the pot of envy, jealousy, or discontent. Sibling rivalry is the result.
Sibling rivalry is as old as time.
Think of Cain and Able, Adam and Eve’s first two kids. And…discontent and envy must have been a part of both Adam and Eve’s characters, even before the boys were born.
If sin bent wasn’t a part of their humanness, Adam and Eve would not have been not been tempted to eat the forbidden fruit.
It is every parent’s hope their children will be lifelong friends. Great parental grief is the result if they are not. And…the children will miss out on a life-long friendship with people who share the same history.
No matter if you have a youngsters or young people, if you avoid these five common mistakes the probability that your kids will be life-long friends will increase.
5 Common Ways Parents Breed Sibling Rivalry
1. Don’t appreciate uniqueness.
Consider this: Each child is gifted with positive character qualities. And each one has characteristics that need to be developed. Talk with each child privately about his or her strengths and weaknesses. Note times when you see improvement in the area of deficits and then speak encouragement your kids.
2. Compare kids.
Consider this: Comparison kills joy and fosters competition. Competition is something you don’t want in your family and joy is something you do want. It is not helpful to compare your kids. Someone will always be on the “downside” of that. A situation framed like, “Your brother can….” is NOT helpful an is NOT motivational.
3. Let kids work (fight) it out themselves or play referee.
Consider this: Instead be the coach and train kids in effective conflict resolution techniques. Home is the best place to figure out how to deal with problems, disagreements, and issues. Teach your children how to express frustration without personally attacking another and how to own their own mistakes. Help your kids have a heart for other siblings by encouraging empathy (putting oneself in another’s shoes).
4. Don’t encourage companionship and interdependence and instead highly value individual and independent pursuits.
Consider this: Family unity through sharing rituals and traditions is one way to foster companionship. Sharing fun times and working together are times when companionship can be encouraged. Be creative and think of ways to cultivate family friendships (time together, shared memories, and shared experiences).
5. Don’t encourage a God dependence and perspective and instead value independence.
Consider this: Build a God-confidence. If our kids have a confidence in God and in his plan and purpose for their life, rivalry will dissipate. Ultimately, rivalry comes from buying into the human idea of success being related to power, prestige, personality, and/or possession. If our kids really understood they were created on purpose for a purpose by the Creator of the Universe, rivalry would disappear.
These five ideas will strengthen sibling relationships and curb rivalry. We want our homes to be a training ground and not a battlefield.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
If you liked this article you may want to read this related post 7 Ways Parents can Squelch Sibling Rivalry.
What do you do to foster your kids’ relationships with each other?
Lori Wildenberg, mom of 4, co-author of 3 parenting books, and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting. Contact Lori to have her speak at your next event.
If you found this post to be practical and encouraging you will want to head over to Amazon and order either Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love.