Have you ever gone in to break up a fight with your kids and ended up donning the gloves and getting in the ring yourself? That is the sneaky thing about sibling rivalry. It sucks you in and instead of bringing about the solution and resolution; you become part of the problem. How did those kids get to be so smart eating macaroni and cheese and watching The Wiggles? Sometimes I think sibling rivalry is a ploy by our kids to see how fast they can push us over the edge.
Part of this family plague of sibling rivalry has to do with human nature. All of us just want to get under someone else’s skin and make sure we always have a leg up on those close to us. And on top of this, we all get a little irritated with those who seem to always be in our space. But so much joy is stolen when kids are always arguing and fighting among themselves. It brings out the worst in us as parents and definitely in the siblings who participate in this constant bickering.
Thus Tip # 6 in this series, Keeping Sibling Rivalry to a Minimum.
6.) Encourage harmony and honor in your home and never model or tolerate dishonoring behavior or speech toward a family member.
This is an easy trap to fall into, especially if you believe sarcasm is a love language. And yes it does mean that you are probably going to have to come up with another nick name for your spouse other than “idiot.” I don’t know if you have ever picked up on the fact that every home has an atmosphere, just like the planets. It can either be an atmosphere of grace or one of tension and/or dishonor. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to figure out which one fosters sibling rivalry.
And who do you think influences that atmosphere the most? I know you must be saying, “Can’t we blame something on those little hellions?” Not until we take the responsibility that is ours in setting the tone and expectations in our home.
If a child always witnesses honoring speech and behavior from their Mom and Dad and gets push back every time they say or do something dishonoring, eventually it is going to sink into even the most strong-willed child that one works and the other one gets unpleasant consequences and unsatisfactory results every time. It is called behavior modification and parents who want to minimize sibling rivalry are not above using techniques that worked on Pavlov’s dog.
As long as we are using the canine analogies, remember to reward your kids when they get it right. As they speak kindly to each other and learn to disagree honorably, give them a treat—at least an “atta boy”. You can even try a pat on the head unless they are attempting to use gel and hairspray and doing creative things with their locks. Even then, be sure to make eye contact when you affirm their good choices of words and actions.
Example, Expectations and Encouragement foster honor and respect in a home. And homes that have an atmosphere of Grace have less sibling rivalry with which to contend.
Keeping Sibling Rivalry to a Minimum
- Make sure you are not teaching your kids to bicker by the way you treat your spouse.
- Don’t compare siblings to each other in a negative way.
- Don’t require your children to compete for your attention.
- Don’t show preference of one sibling over another.
- We must help our children understand that life isn’t always going to be fair or equitable.
- Encourage harmony and honor in your home and never model or tolerate dishonoring behavior or speech toward a family member.
Written by Darcy Kimmel
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