It’s no surprise that imperfect children living in an imperfect home result in arguments. As parents, we work to foster a sibling connection that is characterized by love and friendship rather than continual conflict.
Colossians 3:14 (NLT) says, “And above all these things put on love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” In the context of sibling relationships, this Scripture instructs us that when siblings actively embrace love, they nurture a profound connection.
Here are some practical suggestions for developing sibling harmony among your children:
1) Encourage Open Communication
Make sure your children feel free to express themselves. Encourage children to express their feelings when there is a conflict. But to do it according to Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”
2) Teach Conflict Resolution
Teach your children the value of calming down, listening, understanding, waiting their turn to share, saying, “I’m sorry” when and where they’re wrong, and forgiving. Explain the truth of Colossians 3:13 (NLT) to them, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
3) Help Them Celebrate Their Differences
Encourage your kids to understand and appreciate the unique qualities of each other. Help them to “put themselves in each other’s shoes.” Understanding and kindness may be expressed when they realize how each other feels. Help them live out the truth of Romans 12:10 (NLT) “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another.”
4) Establish Rules
Make it clear what is expected and what will happen if those rules are broken. Having clear rules and consequences helps keep things fair. Try to be consistent.
5) Encourage Teamwork
Have children participate in activities that require them to work together, such as games or housework. They can become closer by collaborating to achieve a common goal. Recognize and applaud occasions when they collaborate to solve issues or get along. Positive reinforcement will encourage their teamwork.
6) Do Not Compare
Do not compare your children. Instead of pitting them against each other, celebrate their own successes. Avoid the whole “Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother” thing.
7) Quality Time With Each Child
Spend time alone with each child. They will feel valued, and they will not have to compete as much for attention.
8) Set A Positive Example
Model for them how to act and solve difficulties with others. Children frequently imitate what they observe their parents do.
Remember that sibling harmony takes time and effort to develop. Disagreements and arguments naturally happen in every family. Utilize sibling conflict as an opportunity for them to learn and grow. This takes more time and greater effort to accomplish, but the end result is so worth it!
For a deeper dive on this topic, watch “How Can I Help My Kids Get Along?” on our YouTube channel.