Building a friendship between siblings is no easy task. In our family, we’ve had to be intentional to fend off the battles and strengthen relationship.
Sometimes at dinner, we’ll go around the table and say one positive thing about each family member — something we’ve noticed about him or her that is particularly attractive, maybe a strength or a gift. The idea is to take the time to intentionally build one another up in love.
You can also teach your kids to demonstrate their love for their siblings by praying for them. If I’m putting my son Clancy to bed and his brother, Tucker, has been a real bother all day, I’ll say, “Why don’t you pray for Tucker tonight? He had a really hard day.”
Prayer keeps things in perspective and fosters love for the other person.
At the same time, look for opportunities in which your children can serve each other. For example, if I’m busy and I notice one of my kids is struggling to do something or is calling for me, I may suggest, “Haven, can you go help your little sister?” Afterward I’ll affirm her, letting her know what a sweet big sister she is.
You can also encourage loving relationships between your kids by helping them to focus on the long term. Tell your children about one of the best friends you had as a child, and describe all the fun things you did together. Then tell them how long it’s been since you’ve seen or talked to that friend. Point out to them that friends are great, but family endures.
Ask your kids this: Would you rather invest all your energy in watering and tending a flower that, while beautiful, lasts only a season? Or would you want to spend more of your time cultivating a tree that will grow throughout your entire life, one that can bring you joy during your childhood and shade in your old age?
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Taken from Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2000 by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. ThrivingFamily.com.
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