I am inspired, seeing all the pictures on social media of my friends with their siblings for Siblings Day.
I’m an only child.
I have four children.
My husband has two sisters.
My mom is the youngest of six kids.
My dad had a brother.
I’ve learned a bit about family from watching the sibling interactions of my parents and husband and kids.
Too often negative examples have shaped my idea of family and what I don’t want for my kids. I want them to grow up in a loving, safe, open environment.
My mom’s siblings were not close and I witnessed too many arguments, physical and verbal, causing much emotional damage.
My father was not close to his younger brother and showed nothing but disapproval of his liberal lifestyle and refused to even attend his memorial when he died of a drug overdose.
My husband is not close to his sisters. The military separates our family physically but he chooses to not keep communication open since their parents have passed.
If I had a sibling…I would love and cherish and respect her or him. I’ve seen too many siblings who aren’t close and it’s sad. I grew up praying for sisters and brothers. It was lonely. Too many take siblings for granted, selfish.
I want my children to grow up to be best friends.
How can I accomplish this?
It takes more than just Bible study because using scripture as a weapon is not our style.
It takes a lot of work to have a good relationship with friends and family. We make time for what’s important.
We strive to have a healthy family culture.
I love this particular brother-sister duo in our homeschool group. It’s apparent that they love and respect each other and their parents did it right. They’re sixteen and eighteen and are inseparable and affectionate. Their parents did something right.
How to End Sibling Rivalry
I train my kids from early on to be servant leaders. So that means I strive to eliminate the me-first attitude. Our flesh wants attention and to be number one.
Just the other day, Kate got trampled in the mad rush for vitamin dispensing. I mean, who ever would have thought they would have to have a family meeting about throwing elbows and tripping a sister to be first in line to receive vitamins?
Two of my children are naturally more gentle and courteous and they only need occasional prodding to be polite to others in a group environment. They’re thoughtful and caring. My other two aren’t so much selfish as they are thoughtless. They just need more training to think of others before themselves.
I know too many adults who need training in empathy and caring for others.
It is the greatest compliment when someone tells me that my children are kind.
Our whole family continuously works on speaking kindly. We know the importance of words and using them positively. Our tone matters. The words we use have power and I want my family to speak love and life.
Too much of my childhood was spent crying over hurtful words and I don’t want to repeat those mistakes or have my kids continue that legacy.
This is an area we all constantly work on since there’s always room for improvement.
Family time is important to us. We realize friends can teach us much, but family is forever and I want my four kids to be close as adults.
We eat meals together, usually homemade. Sharing dinnertime is important to us.
I don’t make them share everything. It’s important they each have something sacred to hold dear. Sometimes it’s a food treat or toy. Other times, it’s one on one time with me or Dad. They need to know they’re cherished as individuals too. I intervene at times so there is private time and private space at home. Tori and Kate share a bedroom and Alex’s bedroom holds most of the family toys, so there can be quarrels. Most of the time, they play and work together so well in tight quarters.
We travel together. Sure, it’s sometimes stressful and expensive, but it’s worth it. I want them to have great memories.
I always encourage them to forgive each other and work together. Learning how to really apologize helps. They will always have each other with their shared experiences and memories. I want them to learn to rely and lean on each other throughout their lives.
Success is hearing my teen say that she likes her younger siblings. She doesn’t understand how other families don’t get along well.