What does the Bible say about sibling rivalry and how can I get my kids to get along? (Part 2)

May 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Getting Kids to Get Along

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4: 20)

Years ago while I was reading through the Bible book of 1 John, I suddenly saw how this verse was relevant for parenting and my family life.

The Apostle John states that if you do not love your Christian brother you do not love God. Why? Simple, it’s easier to love someone that you can see than it is to love God who you cannot see.

The principle involved is that we all must walk before we run, the simple before the difficult.

So I called a family meeting and explained this verse and then applied the principle to our family.

If we cannot love (get along with, share, talk nicely etc.) with our brothers and sisters who we live with and are closest to, it is not likely that we are able to properly love anyone outside our home.

We think we can but we can’t. Siblings tend to think that they do not get along with their brothers and sisters because their siblings are just stupid or difficult. The fact that they get along just fine with their friends seems to reinforce this idea.

Unfortunately they are missing a large piece of the logic puzzle. They do not live with their friends. The truth is, if they had to live with their friends they would start having the same problems with them that they are having with their siblings.

The same relational skills needed to run a successful sibling relationship and resolve family conflicts are the same ones needed to run great friendships.

God meant for the sibling relationship to be the test dummy for all other peer relationships.

This is how we prepare our children for successful friendships and even a successful marriage. If they learn and practice the relational skills needed to get along with their siblings, they will possess the basic skills for making a marriage work. Unfortunately, the reverse of this parenting advice is also true.

I went on to explain to my children that knowing how to love and get along with others would make their lives much more wonderful and they agreed that getting along feels better than fighting.

So I followed the family meeting up with a family commitment and a family motto.

In Proverbs 20:3 God says that it is an honor to avoid strife and that only fools quarrel. So we agreed and made a commitment that as a family we were going to get rid of strife (fighting, unkind words, complaining etc) and we were going to learn to get along.

We agreed that our motto would be, ‘Our family is a loving family.’

The family meeting, when used to get everyone in agreement regarding your home values, is one of the most powerful Christian parenting, family tools I know. Here is the parenting tip, once life happens and things get difficult, you can remind everyone involved of the discussion and their agreement to it, quote the motto and move forward from there.

This whole process didn’t take much longer than it would take to read a couple of Bible stories but it laid a strong foundation that we eventually built strife free sibling relationships on. Of course, laying this foundation was just the starting point, next came the instruction and training. We’ll get started on the parenting skills needed for that in my next blog. (part 3)

For more practical day-to-day ideas for strengthening your family relationships and making your home a ‘Home Sweet Home’ we recommend the Christian resource, “The Seven Mistakes Parents of Toddlers Make”





(RICK OSBORNE / Christian Author, Speaker & Dad – your source for Christian Parenting advice)


5 Comments on "What does the Bible say about sibling rivalry and how can I get my kids to get along? (Part 2)"

  1. Afeni Nelson on Sat, 22nd Jan 2011 9:03 pm 

    Hi! Dear Osborne, I love your information and godly teachings! You have been and are doing the right thing. I wish that I was living in world, where sinful and wicked people don’t attack the righteous people and other sinners. I wish that I was living in a world where ok people, good people, better people, best people, and excellent people do not attack each other, also don’t attack the bad, worst and wicked people. The same goes with perfect people. They must not ever attack me. I hate having times when nice people and others attack me, because of my wrong doings and right doings, plus for other reasons. I am so glad that not all righteous people and unrighteous people mentally, spiritually, soulfully, fleshly, physically(bodily), and materialistically(mindfully, emotionally, spiritually, verbally, carnally, physically etc, with tools, weapons, etc, the things such as sticks and stones, plus other soft things and hard things, smooth things and hard things, including all types of chemicals ) hurt me.

  2. Loria Chitikins on Thu, 3rd Mar 2011 1:56 pm 

    Hi! Rick Osborne, I am so delighted that you are giving out information and advice, plus God does forgive families who fight each other. However I wish that they didn’t. I wish that we did not fight each other, plus did not have to fight each other. It is just that I can not solve everybody’s conflict. I wish that I did. Only the Good Lord, will do that eventually. Have a blessed day and life! Sincerely, Loria! Please coach and counsel more people! AMEN!

  3. Marcia on Tue, 29th Mar 2011 6:15 am 

    What about grown siblings in settling parents’ estates?
    I reflected my parents’ generosity & civility, but my siblings put me through He**. I was screwed. It really doesn’t seem right that they should get away with screwing a sibling — blood is not thicker than water anymore.
    Are there Bible verses about God “gets even” in the end vs. my “getting even” per se?

  4. Oscar on Sat, 24th Sep 2011 6:59 pm 

    Thank you Rick for you words. My younger sister is three years younger than me and lives with my older sister six years older than me. I am 55. My older sister invited my younger sister to come live with her after she lost her job. Now they are at each others throat, well my older sister has become very abusive. Blaming her for every little thing. i understand normal rivalry between brothers and sisters but this is too much. They are both Christian, or they claim to be. I am tempted to go between them but I am not sure if that is the best solution. What do you recommend? Thank you and Bless you for the work you do in serving God’s children.

  5. JanieB1 on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 4:50 pm 

    Wow – I’ve been frustrated lately with my children’s behavior toward one another – finally, I was at my wit’s end today and did a search for “how do I get my kids to get along” and this daily blog came up – I was so excited and wanted to read Part 2- thinking that this was probably an old post, I finally looked at the date and saw that it’s TODAY! Wow – God’s timing is SO perfect and He is SO good to me!

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