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There is nothing more fulfilling than for parents to see their children live together in unity and the bond between them stronger than ever, even after leaving the house as students, married or just living by themselves. But that is not the case in so many families. I’ve seen loads of siblings that are now sworn enemies resulting from sibling rivalries. This breaks my heart and I do not wish this for my girl’s or other families. Yet there are some enviable siblings out there too. Even though I have a cordial and peaceful relationship with my siblings,I can’t but crave and wish for more because I have seen some siblings do way better and I really do wish that for my girls. I’m however glad they are getting it right already, because while they argue, I cannot remember settling any fight yet. Oh how this gladden my heart.
How can siblings be truly close and live together in unity? I’m not referring to the parasitic kind of closeness where you do not remember you have a brother or sister except you need something from them, I’m talking about deep-rooted kind of love for each other that surpasses our need or wants from each other. Which brings us to what can be done to make sure our young kids grow up to be each other’s keeper, particularly sister’s.
DO NOT HAVE A FAVORITE CHILD.
Parents, avoid choosing a favorite child among your children and even if you must, please intentionally avoid making it obvious to the others. this is my number one sibling rivalry instigator. The other siblings are watching and most times festering resentment towards the special child. remember the story of Joseph and his brother’s in the bible? Please do all within your power to love all your children equally. Most times we have that one challenging child that always goes against the rules or just plain defiant. When you recognize you have such a child, Pray without relenting and love unconditionally because love always wins at the end of it all. Do not show love to one or some of your children to the extent that it is very obvious for others to see because this does not foster unity but separation and causes them to drift apart.
TEACH THEM WHAT SIBLINGS DO.
A lot of times we assume that our children should know some certain things. One of which is thinking the love for a sibling should come naturally. While some may do, please take it upon yourself to teach your children what you want to see them do and model such behavior through your relationship with your spouses. Don’t live with the assumption that they will definitely grow to love one another. Tell them deep truths about what siblings do; siblings love each other (give real instances), they watch out for each other, they show empathy and so much more.
LET THEM SHARE A ROOM
Encourage your kids to share a room at least till they leave your house. Sharing a room fosters unity, helps them to settle their differences, teaches them to share, helps them to communicate and truly get to know their likes and dislikes. My first two daughter’s have always shared a room since they were born and this has really helped their relationship to grow into what it is today. And the two little ones are learning nothing but positive behavior from them.
TEACH THEM HOW TO HAVE EACH OTHER’S BACK
A lot of siblings have or share some common friends. And most times this is another avenue where rivalry can erupt. When the eldest decides to take sides against the oldest of a common friend or the real owner of the friend becomes jealous of the budding closeness between the sibling and the friend, bitterness and resentment fetters. You can avoid these by teaching your children how to handle their common friendships with care and not to allow anything to come in between them, not even friends. Friends will always come and go, but family will always stay.
CAPTURE MEMORIES AND REFLECT ON THEM LATER
Capture your children’s memories through pictures, videos, framed art works and others. Then choose days to show them and talk about those memories. It is always fun and a day to look forward to. After you do this, let them share ideas on what they look forward to doing together. One of my favorite memories with my siblings is the times we played board games together, particularly Scrabble and monopoly. I’m looking forward to getting my girl’s started on scrabble board game too. Invest in indoor and outdoor games to keep them occupied but having fun. So keep capturing those wonderful memories, cuddle up and laugh over them together.
HELPING ONE ANOTHER
They will come to you at different times seeking one help or the other, instead of helping them, teach to seek each other’s assistance nicely. Sometimes ago my second girl needed help zipping her dress and the eldest was in the room with her. She left her in the room and came to me asking for my help and so I redirected her back to her sister which settled that phase. They only come to me when they have tried and could not handle the situation.
AVOID TAKING SIDES
There will sometimes be arguments or fights among siblings. As much as possible avoid interfering except when it’s taking a longer time to resolve but avoid taking sides if you have to settle the discord. Instead look for lessons the parties involved can all learn so such does not happen again. There’s always a lesson for everyone.
REMIND THEM TO PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER
Always remind them to pray for each other everyday. Prayer is tool you should equip your children to use effectively. Have them mention those things they do not like in each other to God and he will fix it. Also set apart different days to pray for each of them specifically, mentioning the characters you see in them that are not favorable.
Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1
What are the system you put in place in your home to help foster long-lasting peace and love? please do share in the comment section below.