Cultivating Siblings Relationships – Part 3

Cultivating Sibling Relationships – Part 3

Welcome to our part 3 of our series on cultivating healthy sibling relationships. If you haven’t got to read the first two parts of the steps to healthy sibling relationships make sure that you check those two out: PART ONE, and PART TWO.

During part one and part two we talked at length about doing a heart check, making sure that we are not quick to get someone else in trouble, and removing the plank within our own eye before taking the twig out of our brothers/sisters eye.

Part 3 is all about becoming a peacemaker. Interestingly we are to teach our kids to become peacemakers, not peace keepers. This may seem like a simple play on words but I do believe the important difference in peace making is that it is intentional, active and full of truth and love. While, if we were to look at peace keeping I think it is taught out of a passive approach, dismissive and suppressing of conflict or differences (not relationship restoring), and can lend to walking on eggshells, or the common scenario where the loudest person “wins.”

When we look at our kids we can help them become peacemaker by looking at some key verses that help them to formulate a healthy peaceful living:

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” There are simply relationships that take more thoughtful intentions then others, frankly, some are “easier” then others, YET, with that said I love that God has created siblings to help us work at what it means to lived peacefully. The kids word in sibling peaceful relationships is LIVE, they are not a passing friendships (here today gone tomorrow) or a relationships you choose to not engage with but simply put: YOU CAN’T when you are literally living with each other! Siblings MUST learn what it looks like to live peacefully, as a parent you wouldn’t want one kid to be pushed around by another, and equally you wouldn’t want another kid to learn to dominate a relationship, because that is 1.) NOT HEALTHY for their relationship with each other and 2.) NOT HEALTHY for their relationships with others (current and future.)

Questions you can ask your kids during a time of encouragement towards peacemaking:

  • Are you being patient?
    • Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” The fruit of the spirit shows us that patience is a fruit that is grown, and as we can visually size fruit growing in creation today we notice two KEY aspects:
      • First, we see that in order to grow fruit the fruit HAS to be ATTACHED to the branch! We must show and teach our children that in order to display the fruit of the spirit of patience we get that by abiding to CHRIST! Through him we are able to show christ like patience. The kind of patience that isn’t man made, but that through the renewing of the mind we can use the spirit to help us!
      • Second, we can see in nature (God’s creation) that fruit do NOT grow over night, yet it takes time, and care to help a fruit grow. We must realize and show our children that they will work on this fruit of the spirit over time. And as they grow closer to God and abiding in His Word they will see all the fruits of the spirits amplified.
  • Are you Sharing?
    • This is a DAILY struggle for us here at the Rice family household, I mean with 5 kids, you could imagine the constant battle against selfishness that is at play when it comes to sharing.
      • Provers 11:25 “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will be watered himself.” This verse is a great way to show your kiddos that as we display generosity among our siblings then in turn the siblings will be able to show generosity with them.
      • Corinthians 13 shows what true love looks like, and many of the ways we can show love apply within siblings relationships, when it comes to sharing I wanted to give a parenting tip I learned from Ginger Hubbard in her podcast (which I HIGHLY recommend), I have found within my home that many times my kids will ask their sibling over and over to have a toy that their sibling is playing with. We approach this in two steps, first we ask the child who doesn’t have the toy to kindly as the brother or sister who has the toys politely if they can have a turn when they are finished. Sadly, if they continue to repeatedly ask for the toy, I will pull them over to myself and have the following conversation:
            • “Jonah, does it look like Noah is having fun with the toy?” – Mom
            • “Yes mom” – Jonah
            • “Is it polite or rude to take a toy away from someone who is having fun with their toy?” – Mom
            • “Rude momma” – Jonah
            • “So are you being polite or rude by asking for the toy, after you have already asked Noah to have it when he was finished with it?” – Mom
            • “Rude” – Jonah
            • “And remember love is not rude, so lets not ask brother for it again.” – Mom
            • “Yes momma” – Jonah
  • Are you trying to stop a quarrel?
    • Proverbs 20:3 “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Reminding and teaching our kids that the GOAL of every disagreement to work towards ending with resolution, finding a resolve to the problem at hand. We should avoid living in strife or creating strife but with respectful voice, and desiring an outcome of peace we should work through the issues at hand. It is a heart position that is fixed on truth and love that will guide them/us through conflict.
  • Are you overcoming evil with good?
    • Romans 12:20-21 “IF the one who hates you is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him water. If you do that, you will be making him more ashamed of himself. Do not let sin have power over you. Let good have power over sin.”
      • My mom always says, everything is sweeter with honey, and she is not talking about actually honey (although that is true as well) she is talking about our words and actions. Similarly, my dad always says, smile at everyone. If we approach situations with  a heart to serve, love and care for others we are approaching situations with the upper hand: the hand that hasn’t given way to sin.

Peacemaking verse peacekeeping, and working hard to teach the skills needed to become peacemakers is no easy task, and something that will be a constant learning curve even into adulthood, BUT will serve your children well to work on these skills even at a young age.

 

Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships Part 1


Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships (Part 1)

One of the desires of our family is to cultivate within our family unit solid sibling relationships. Darren and I realized that these Godly, forever, sibling relationships are a key element, and in order to take it from relationship to friendship we the parent must intentionally train, teach and develop healthy relating.

I mean you hear it all the time,

“My kids fight like cats and dogs.”

“My kids would rather be with their friends then their brother or sister.”

“They are such always at each others throats.”

These sentiments and more are common and “expected” from society. But what does the Bible have for us that teaches us about relationships? And if you stop and think logically, who are the relationships that your child potentially spends the most time with that are forming the way they think of, view, and model friendships/relationships after.

I remember playing basketball and my coach would always say, “You play the game like you practice and you practice like you play.” Signifying that what happens within the home is translated to the “outside world.” We also know this is true when we look at how children behave around the dinner table can be similar to how they would behave at a restaurant. If you wanted well mannered eaters in a restaurant while there are onlookers then we must start in the home.

I am excited to return to the Bible and look at serval traits of having unity within siblings.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 NKJV

We see that it is GOOD and PLEASANT for siblings to dwell together. And all the moms say, “AMEN!” Think of all the peace that comes within the home when siblings know how to be together in unity, working out their disagreements together and self evaluating if they are being offended and how to deal with it in a healthy way.

There obviously are many steps and training opportunities that we (the parents) must take advantage of, therefore I am breaking this into multiple blog posts/lessons so we can use it like a stair stepper and do one at a time, allowing us to focus and train without being overwhelming or becoming overwhelmed.

LESSON ONE: DON’T BE IN A HURRY TO TELL ON SOMEONE ELSE. This comes from Proverbs 25:8-9 “Do not go hastily to court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame? Debate your vase with your neighbor himself, and do not disclose the secret to another.”

Also Matthew 18:15 states,  “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” 

There is a huge lesson to be learned here from both of the bible verses. Firstly, we must learn to teach our kiddos the importance of working to resolve conflict first between the two offenders, before bringing in the council of a parent. And secondly, when we are in a hurry to tattle tell on the one who has offended us we also reveal our sinful desires and heart in the matter, and don’t preserve the trust.

Lets take a deeper look into the first point: conflict is difficult and it is easy for us to want to bring others in to our own defense. I bet as adults we can see how this transpires as we share a story with another friend to gain the “support” of what we thought was the right decision. Even if the decision or event we could defend our actions, in order to do that we are displaying someone else’s sin on the table to prove our point. Therefore, are we building up that friend or are we airing their dirty laundry and gossiping? (I sadly know this all too well as I have committed this sin before.) We must show our children how when we are in a hurry to tell on someone else, what we are doing is sharing their sin without them getting an opportunity to repent, AND at the same time we are not following the biblical guidelines of healthy relationships and thus showing our sinful hearts as well.

*** I must give an caveat to this and I do teach my children if someone is being unsafe please come quickly for help and support. There are times when adults must be involved.

Secondly similar to above we must teach when they are quick to tattle tell without first working to solve the problem together what is revealed is the tattle tellers sinful heart. I like to show my young kids a visual to help them see and remember this truth. I ask them to point at something, and I say picture you are telling on someone, shaking your finger at them. Then I ask them to look down at their finger, and tell me what they see. 9/10 times they will say I see the finger pointing at the offender. (a very victim, me centric, their fault, no ownership type of mentality.) I then ask them to tell me where are the rest of your fingers pointing? Excluding the thumb (which we could argue is not a finger), three fingers are pointing back at THEMSELVES. And I share with them, when we are pointing out the sin or wrong doings of someone else we have three times as many fingers pointing back at us showing our sinful intent, that we are trying to get them in trouble, that we are becoming to judge and jury.

**** Another element we should address here, justice is a big thing and it can be confusing to kids (and adults). Phrases like, “it isn’t fair,” or “they should have a consequence for their actions,” are hard to process through, but as we remind our kids that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) and deserve punishment (Rom 6:23), we are reminded about grace, forgiveness, mercy and repentance. These traits are displayed in our lives daily and give us an opportunity to recognize and be reconciled back to one another.

Being offended is hard to process, hard to deal with, and hard to learn how to handle. If I am be bold and not shameful in anyway but our world today (society at large) is not great at handling offenses. So therefore there is not a better time than now, and not a better people group than the children within our own homes that God has charged us with, to be able to mold, shape, influence, train, guide and disciple.

I hope you are encouraged and that this allows you to take one step forward to working on and training sibling relationships. Also make sure to keep watch for next week when we enter into part two.

*** I want to thank Doorpost (Doorpost.net) for the trainings I got from them in order to help train my children on these biblical truths. And if you are interested in getting resources (I am not an affiliate just LOVE there products) make sure you head over there, they have a great poster which is quick to refer to.)