I am in the final stages of getting my eBook ready for all of you! I am hoping to launch it on January 25th – woooohooooo!!!
The Kindness Antennae is my mission to inspire sweet mamas everywhere (like YOU) to live lives that celebrate kindness.
One of the chapters specifically addresses how to encourage siblings to be kind to one another.
Because often it feels like I am acting as a referee around here – breaking up squabbles between brothers about anything from what TV show to watch to who gets to hold the red ball in the bathtub.
And it seems like many of you feel this way as well! I recently asked my Facebook fans how they encourage their kids to be kind to one another and a huge response expressed gratitude for help in the trenches!
As I have sought the Lord about this particular issue, I realized that you can try all of the tips and tricks out there to manage sibling rivalry, but really it comes down to a heart issue within each child that can only be solved by the good work of Christ!
And the very best way that I have found to inspire a child’s heart toward love and kindness (or obedience, or honesty, or purity, etc.) is to use the holy, inspired Word of God.
Teaching my boys what God says about loving one another is my top priority.
So when they are headed for the WWF arena with each other, I will gently remind them of one of the following 5 Bible verses (all of which we have worked to memorize as a family).
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love and honor one another above yourself.” Romans 12:10
Many (ok, ALL) sibling squabbles result from hearts that are bent on serving and pleasing themselves (“I want that!” or, “It’s MY turn!”).
I like to share the Bible story where God brought Abraham and Lot to a new land (Genesis 13). When it came time to divide the land between the 2 men, Abraham graciously gave Lot first pick of the real estate.
This kind of sacrifice is rooted in a deep trust in God.
When we learn that God meets all of our needs in Christ, we learn to care less about what we think we need to be happy and delight more in making others happy. I want this for my kids (and myself!).
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
When my boys fight, my main concern is about their forgiveness and reconciliation. Just as with any relationship, when a lot of little things go unresolved, bitterness can take root and walls can be built between siblings.
So when they hurt one another, they must go to great lengths to make things right. Thorough, heartfelt apologies are expected. Forgiveness is given immediately and no one is allowed to bring it back up – it is finished. Then we always wrap things up with some hugging.
Once I made the boys stand forehead to forehead and had them repeat statements to one another that I dictated like, “I love you, brother!” and “You are my best friend!” and “I want to be kind and compassionate toward you!”
This brought about all kinds of giggling and the tensions from arguing quickly dissolved.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
One of the Lord’s commands for Christians is to be peacemakers in this world. In a world of prejudices, violence, greed, crime, etc. what does this mean?
A peacemaker is someone who seeks ways to love others – not stir up trouble. We should be so filled with His peace – so satisfied by it – that we have no need to pick fights or be ‘right’ or get our way at the expense of others.
I will occasionally interrupt any escalating situations between brothers by asking, “Who is being a peacemaker?”
Sometimes we have to gently remind Mr. B. about being a peacemaker when we are driving home in rush hour traffic – hahaha!
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Ahhh, the Golden Rule!
I will often ask my boys when I see them being hurtful toward one another, “How would you feel if your brother came in and knocked down a Lego tower that you had worked very hard on?” or “How would it make you feel if your brother pushed you out of the way to get to the toilet first?”
Getting your child to consider how their sibling is feeling about their behavior toward them encourages empathy and is a great step toward building strong sibling relationships.
“But the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Matthew 20:28
Ultimately, we are not here to please ourselves. God gave each of us the special mission to serve others and He gave us the best example in His Son, Jesus.
The other morning Happy Buddy woke up before his brother. He poured himself a bowl of cereal and then went back to the cabinet for another bowl. I asked him what he was doing and he said he wanted to pour his brother a bowl of cereal so that it would be ready for him when he got up. <3
Don’t give up, sweet mama. I know you sometimes feel like no one is GETTING IT, but keep being faithful. Keep administering His Word. Keep seeking Jesus on behalf of your kiddos.
And when the moments of fruit-filled responses come (like the cereal bowl story), shout joyfully,
“BEHOLD! How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
What do you think? What verses does YOUR family use to encourage kindness among siblings?
Want more resources about sibling relationships? Check out these posts from some of my friends!
- 5 Things You Should Stop Doing If You Want Your Kids to Like Each Other
- Dealing With Fighting Among Siblings
- Dealing With Sibling Rivalry in the Christian Home