What does the Bible say about sibling rivalry and how can I get my kids to get along? (Part 6)
Can you figure out which Biblical relationship principle you can discuss with your children by watching this video together?
In the 5th chapter of Ephesians, Paul begins his teaching on different kinds of relationships. He begins with marriage, moves on to parents and children and finishes up with what today would be somewhat applicable to the employer/employee relationship.
He begins his instruction by laying a simple foundation that applies to all relationships, “…submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (verse 21)
The word ‘submit’ has been kicked around a lot but it really has quite a simple meaning. To submit to someone means that you voluntarily look at their needs and desires and consider them important in order to foster a loving and cooperative relationship.
When two people submit to one another, they are actively being thoughtful and considerate of each other instead of being selfish and demanding.
I love the YouTube video that I attached because in it the big brother very simply demonstrates this principle. Even though his little sibling ends up finding his lap, he’s not bothered or defensive of his territory. By not reacting, he is submitting to or being thoughtful and considerate of his brother’s needs.
Can you imagine what your home sweet home would look like if every relationship were firmly placed on this foundation?
In order to simplify the concept for my kids, I used the word thoughtfulness. So the question is, what parenting skills can we use to create an atmosphere of thoughtfulness in our homes?
Firstly (always) according to Eph. 6:4, our children need both instruction and training. I find the family meeting is the best place to start whenever any new family rule or principle is to be enacted.
In the meeting, explain to your kids what thoughtfulness is. Keep it brief, about the length of a couple of Bible stories or a short Sunday school lesson. Give them some examples so that they know what thoughtfulness looks like. Show them the video and point out how unbothered the older brother is. Ask them why they think the boy is being so understanding about sharing his space.
Get them on board by using ‘Golden Rule Parenting’. Ask if they would like their brothers and sisters to always be thoughtful of them and what they want. Then explain to them that it has to work both ways (they have to be thoughtful too) in order for it to work.
Here’s a useful parenting tip—tell them that thoughtfulness doesn’t work if you’re only thinking about yourself. You need to think about first US, then YOU and then ME. In other words, in every relationship situation, they need to find a way that works out best for both parties involved, ‘US’. If they’re having trouble finding a way that works for US, then they need to move to YOU—or put the other person first. Only then should they think of a way that helps them get what they want, ME.
US first, YOU second, ME last. If everyone in the house plays by this rule and learns this virtue then even the most difficult family life situations and conflicts can be resolved.
Once you’ve instructed and everyone has agreed that you want to be a ‘thoughtful’ family, then the training starts. Just because your kids agreed doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to do it. When a problem occurs (remember no armchair command flinging) go over there and calmly help them go through the process (US, YOU, WE) until they have it settled.
In the next installment of this blog series on sibling rivalry, we’ll talk about another key element in teaching your children to get along.
For more practical parenting advice and 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)
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