Sibling relationships and how to help brothers and sisters get along is something that we Mothers will be focussing on a lot as our children grow up together. The more children you have, the more opportunities there are for conflict to develop. In our family we talk about brothers and sisters being best friends and are constantly reminding the children that their friends will come and go but their siblings (their best friends) will be there for them always. When there is conflict, we ask the children if they would treat their friends outside the family in the same way they are treating their best friend (brother or sister.) I have a couple of posts on this topic (see sibling relationships and spoilt walls) but today I wanted to give you some links and recommended resources for addressing conflict. The fact is, our children are sinners and will get into conflict; we as adults still find ourselves in conflict situations! The question is, how are they going to handle the conflict that IS going to arise?
- able to display enough self-control to talk calmly through the issue?
- beginning to use negotiation and compromise in sorting out their problems?
- learning what to do when disagreements arise in times of non-conflict; perhaps through role-playing various situations that they are likely to face?
- re-playing a situation that has arisen from the beginning, practising saying and doing what they should have done in the first place? (This is essential for toddlers.)
- playing with appropriate supervision? (Leaving a toddler and older sibling unsupervised for long periods is a recipe for disaster, unless the older child has the moral maturity to handle the toddler.)
- being given direction as to what and where to play as part of a flexible routine, without too many choices?
- speaking respectfully to their brothers and sister? Taking too many verbal freedoms?
Teri Maxell of Titus2.com has 2 sets of posts on the subject that are excellent. Here are the links to the first article in both series. Follow her links to find the other articles in each set.
Carla Link has also produced a brilliant resource with her Mom’s Notes. They are all well worth a listen, with the Dealing With Sibling Conflict part 1 and part 2 messages available as MP3 recordings that you can download immediately or purchase as a hard copy. While not free, the talks are reasonably priced and well worth the investment.
Teaching our children how to give and receive love while they fill each other’s love tanks is also important, as is a good understanding of the different personality types. Learning to give each other the 5 A’s will help us all nurture each other and above all else, a solid relationship with God will be the foundation on which all else rests.