I passionately believe siblings are God’s built-in training ground to raise up successful adults who know how to deal with people, love those who are different and reap the fruit of deep connection and community.
Testimony from a mom in our online Kingdom parenting class: “Kids were arguing, and I felt led to ask what he thought Jesus wanted him to do now. He just walked over to his sister and started talking to her! It wasn’t manipulation or guilt or shame but freedom because he did everything from listening to Papa instead of me! I want more of this! Thank You, Holy Spirit!”
Perhaps one of the greatest ways you can increase peace and love in your homes is to speak your child’s love language and empower siblings to do the same with each other.
My daughter was having a tough time with her brother thinking it was funny to put his toe right up against the doorway to her room. He never went in but was taunting her, and she was biting the bait. She came to me exasperated. Holy Spirit had me teach her that he was getting a thrill out of her reaction. He doesn’t care about going into her room; he loves the rise it is causing her. It is making him feel powerful (of course, none of this was appropriate on his end), but this is an annoying thing about people kids must learn to overcome. I told her that every time she freaks out, it was like she was giving him chocolate. Of course, he would want more. But when we take the ‘fun’ out of our reaction, it is like handing him a candy bar made of broccoli. Ah, no thanks! I encouraged her to go up and ignore him, blow it off, and soon enough, it won’t be fun for him anymore. She invited him in, and then he ran away. He never wanted to enter; he wanted to bug her! When my kids find themselves in that situation again, I simply say, “Give them a broccoli bar.”
This lesson was taken from our Character Counts SOAR parenting magazine. If you are interested in more activities, you can purchase your digital copy here: Character Training SOAR Magazine – Let the Children Fly
Sibling conflict is God’s training ground. Use it for their good.
Many, many times when there is conflict in my home, it is because their love 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/sister’s love language is and ask what they 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 like kids starving for attention!
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!
My youngest two have always been super close; however, they have been snapping at each other a lot. I finally sat them down to dig deeper. It was obvious that one of them was carrying some hurt, but they didn’t know what or why. Not a problem, Jesus knows! Psalms 139 tells us He can search our hearts and reveal things to us. So, we asked Jesus to shine His flashlight into her heart. She started crying and said that during Christmas break, she asked to play with him on numerous occasions, and he told her NO (I assume it was because he was busy playing with his new toys). She took this very personally and has built a wall around her heart with him. I could have disciplined her flesh for snapping at him, but her flesh wasn’t the issue – her hurting heart was. As soon as Jesus revealed the truth of what was going on, she could forgive and be free from the hurt that was agitating her heart.
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.