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 2

 

Cultivating Healthy Sibling Relationships – Part 2

This is Part Two of a series about cultivating Sibling Relationships, if you haven’t read part one I would encourage you to give it a read at some point 🙂 HERE!

Sibling relationships are so good for the heart issues we naturally face in life. Working through the difficult relationship heart offenses when we are young can help to develop healthy lifelong relationships, not just with our siblings but other relationships we will have like friendships, marriage, work and more!

In part 1 we covered teaching our children to not be in a hurry to tell on someone else. Our goal is to help our children be able to work out disagreements between each other before seeking help, and that our children can preserve relationships when they are not seeking to get the other sibling in trouble, and lastly when they seek to get our sibling in trouble they reveal their own heart issues that also will need to be addressed.

Now as we dive into part 2 of cultivating sibling relationships we will see yet again an opportunity to train the sibling offended/hurt to grow in these situations. Here is our guide verse:

Matthew 7:1-5 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

As we will discover as we dive into this scripture, there is one glaring false assumption we must first address. Today in our culture we have taken this opening line, “Do not judge, or you will be judged,” to mean we should not have discernment or encourage righteousness in our brother/sister in Christ. This is FALSE, this is a myth of what the I believe the intention of the verse is trying to encourage us in. This verse is stating DO NOT BE A HYPOCRITE, you will be held to the standard you are holding others too. The verse is setting us up to see the humor and dire reality of the speck and log illustration a few verses below. Why is this important? This is KEY to being able to help your child learn to see their sinful hearts in order that they might see their part in the disagreement and help to resolve the conflict.

Our goal as parents is to help our child to learn to, Remove the plank from their own eye first.

It might seem humous to show your child how a plank in you eye verses a speck in their eye. Even draw a picture to show the difference between them both, and ultimately to illustrate a point that we have to check ourselves first before we are to point our our brother/sisters sin.

I have used the resource outline from Doorpost.com resources on the brother-offended checklist to help guide this conversation I have with my child. They have literally taken bible verses to help ask questions about heart issues.

The following questions can be used to help your child discover their own “plank” in the situation.

  • Are you being easily provoked? Help you child see if they can be slow to anger they we have more happiness, less arguments, and more peace. This is a great but hard lifelong skill that can be worked on at an early age.
    • Proverbs 19:11 – A man’s understanding makes him slow to anger. It is to his honor to forgive and forget a wrong done to him.
    • 1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.
  • Are you thinking of yourself first? This is a great question to ask when it comes to struggling with sharing. It is a question that helps the child see if their heart position is only thinking of themselves or others.
    • Philippians 2:4-5 – Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
    • Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
    • 1 Cor. 13:5 (NLT) – Love does not do the wrong thing. Love never thinks of itself.
  • Are you repaying evil with evil? Evaluating is your child’s actions trying to get back at their sibling, maybe their are using their frustration to hurt someone else instead of handling it in a healthy way. For older kids this could also involve gossiping, slandering character, and speaking poorly of others in a “christainy” way, “I think we should pray for Mary she has been doing (xyz).”
    • 1 Peter 3:8-9 – Last of all, you must share the same thoughts and the same feelings. Love each other with a kind heart and with a mind that has no pride. When someone does something bad to you, do not do that same thing to him. When someone talks about you, do not talk about him …
    • Proverbs 24:29 – Do not say, “I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.”
    • Romans 12:19 – Christian brothers, never pay back someone for the bad he has done to you. Let the anger of God take care of the other person. The Holy Writings say, “I will pay back to them what they should get,” says the Lord.

Discovering and training the heart of our children is a task that is not a one and done, but a daily reminder of how we are sinful people in need of savior. We will never obtain righteous living on our own, even those people who are following Christ will still have our sinful hearts show up uninvited to the party. When that uninvited guest shows up we must show him to the door. It will be hard work, but the fruit of the spirit will be growing in our children’s hearts and they will be transformed by the Word and renewing of their mind as we point them to God’s word and God’s design for our lives.