Your child needs to know not only their own language but their siblings’. When a child is aware of their needs, it makes it a lot easier for them to get their need met in a healthy way. Say their language is quality time, and yet they haven’t invested any time in their family; they are going to feel disconnected. Love tanks aren’t something to just passively let others fill. We can intentionally put ourselves on the path to be filled up. They can be doing things that encourage their needs to be met. Many times when there is conflict in my home, it is because their tanks are low with each other. While it would be so much easier to just separate the two ‘offending siblings,’ what they REALLY need is connection. When I see this is an issue, I will ask the child what their brother’s love language is and ask what she can do to fill it and vice versa. The older they get, the more I solve sibling issues this way than anything else. Disconnected kids act out like kids starving for attention!
SIBLINGS’ LOVE TANKS
Sibling connection is important, yet without tools, language, or empowerment to create a peaceful environment, sibling conflict can be a great source of chaos in many homes.
Of all the languages in the world, the most confusing is silence. Silence shouldn’t be a language we are communicating to our children as it opens them up to the enemy to fill in the blanks for them (and he will, it just won’t be something that brings life). Make it a point TODAY to intentionally tell your child how you feel about them!
Have you ever seen a plant that just desperately needs a drink? My daughter looked that way to me, so I told the others to find something to do for 30 minutes while I had an in-home date with her. I told her to meet me in the rec room in 5 minutes. She had no idea what was happening but was waiting for me. I walked in, handed her a drink, and told her I just wanted her all to myself for a few moments. Then, I asked her about her heart, life, friends, and school. When we were done 15 minutes later, her comment was, “I feel so alive.”
Just because we are with our kids ALL the time doesn’t mean we have their hearts. Ask Holy Spirit how you can creatively water their heart today in a unique and meaningful way.
In this issue, we are going after SIBLING CONNECTION! Siblings are God’s built-in training ground to raise solid, kind, and fruitful young adults to care about the world around them. We also have a special section JUST FOR DADS in this issue that you don’t want to miss!
We were at the pool one day, and Hudson sneaked up behind Emma, who was sitting by the edge, not wanting to get wet. He motioned to me if he could throw her in. I responded, “You can, but will it help your connection with her?” He took a second to realize the joy of the victory would not be worth the splash it would make in their connection. I have taught my children over and over and over that the way they treat each other today will affect tomorrow. It may feel ‘good’ to be powerful today, but tomorrow you will reap the fruit of a low account with them.
If you have followed Let the Children Fly for long, you know that I am a big promoter of knowing and filling your child’s love tank. How many adults walk around with unmet needs waiting for someone to fill them? It is a lonely and isolating experience. The sad thing is few people can read your mind to know what you need. I have been very diligent in not only teaching my children about their love language but how to discern when they are feeling low, isolated, or disconnected and how to get their needs met in a HEALTHY, proactive way. Typically when their tanks are low, there is an increase of bickering, conflict, bad moods, agitation, and strife. While I went after character training, I also helped them to be PROACTIVE with their needs so that it doesn’t get to that point. Hudson came to me one morning and said, “Hey Mom, I set up a game of cards for us.” Truth be told, the timing wasn’t great, as I had a lot to do, but I had eyes to see that my son could have cared less about cards and was really saying, “Hey Mom, my love tank is low, and I want you to fill it before I go to school.” Yep! I can make time for you, son.
When children have the love language of acts of service and are told, “No, you can do it yourself,” it hurts their heart. They know their hands can do it alone, but their heart wants you to do it with them. This can be quite annoying for a parent who has intentionally taught their child to be independent and self-sufficient. Yes, we want our children to take responsibility for their world and manage themselves well. No, we do not want to coddle them, stifle their growth, or baby them forever. But we do want to hear their heart cry to be loved, and these children hear it loudest when you do things that they are capable of doing on their own together. Do you have one of these kids? Has this happened to you?
When I had four kids under 4, including twins, the one area that drove me nuts was sharing. The constant need to referee who had what toy and someone else crying over it was a full-time job! I remember thinking there was no way I would survive 18 years of this. God gave me a great solution which we named the ‘2-minute rule’. Anytime someone wanted something you had, you ONLY had two responses, “Yes!” and be a joyful giver on the spot, or you could say, “In 2 minutes,” which taught the other person to be patient. It was a win/win situation. No need for tears because they were empowered with how to handle the situation. When conflict broke out, I would go back and help guide them back to the two options, and peace would resume. To this day, I am able to reap the fruit of this because their character had a chance to grow in the midst of conflict.
What is something in your house causing chaos? Ask Holy Spirit to give you a creative way to equip your children to handle the situation and aid in their character development.
We were enjoying a day at the swimming pool. Hudson asked for a sip of my pop, and I felt led to lavish him with the whole thing. Lauren came over and robbed him of his joy by being bossy, controlling, and ‘self-focused.’ I decided to treat the girls to one, too (it is a treat and not something I usually do). I gave it to Lauren to share, but she was being mean-spirited and controlling about it with her sisters, too. I called her over and pointed it out to her. She was frustrated with herself for being like that but didn’t know why. We asked Jesus to shine His flashlight in her heart and show us what was going on. She began to cry and say that the other girls would move away from her whenever she joined them. Bingo! Hurts, lies, offense. She was hurt and offended that her sisters were working on a skit together and were not including her. I explained that she was partnering with control and meanness to make herself feel better and listening to the lie that she couldn’t be weak and show tears (something she struggles with) and that in doing so, she was releasing the wrong kingdom. I asked if that was what she wanted (because she does have a free will, and I would rather parent with her will than try to control her against it). She didn’t want that and agreed to let her sisters know how she felt. She learned that it is safe in God’s Kingdom to show tears and weaknesses, which she revealed to her sisters. I declared over them that they were powerful and incredible world-changers who could devise a plan to resolve the conflict and then left them to figure it out, and the joy returned! Can you see how spanking, time outs, removing the treat, etc., would not have even come close to addressing the real issue of her hurt heart?
Oh, that we would grasp this revelation and run our homes and churches to reflect the Father’s heart.
Hudson has been a bear – like the mean grizzly kind. He would not heed the multiple warnings and continued to operate out of disrespect for all of those around him. Finally, in frustration, someone walked away and said they could no longer be around him. He found himself disconnected from the group. The next morning as he was cleaning up his mess, he created another one, but this one had serious consequences. I was so frustrated as I felt like we kept putting out fires but never getting to the source. I knew I had to go deeper into getting the Lord’s heart and strategy for him, as he was clearly stuck in a cycle. As we asked Jesus, he said he wanted revenge (which is exactly how he was acting). We asked Jesus to show us what he wanted revenge for, and he started crying. He said the girls kept ignoring him. I called a family meeting, and we began to realize that we thought the girls were responding because Hudson was being unkind, but in reality, the girls were the ones not being loving, and it was causing him to feel rejected and like he didn’t belong in his own family (which was the root of his behavior).
All the discipline in the world would not have addressed the real issue – the girl’s hearts. He was not the ISSUE. His behavior was simply waving a FLAG that there was an issue. I went from being so frustrated with him to being so thankful for his reaction because it alerted me to something greater for the girls.