It’s a familiar scene these days. One of my boys comes running into the room where I am, with the other hot on his heels yelling or threatening to throw something. Usually, there has been harsh words spoken, names called and feelings hurt. Honestly some days I just want to hide and not deal with it at all.
The truth is that my boys really love each other. But like most people who spend a lot of time together, they also know how to push each other’s buttons. As a family, we have committed to being best friends with our siblings but it does take lots of patience, grace, and training.
4 Ways to Encourage Siblings to be Best Friends
These days sibling rivalry is viewed as something to be expected. Like it’s not a big deal to have brothers and sisters going at each other all the time. I completely disagree and it breaks my heart to see siblings behave this way. Over the years I have tried to instill in my boys the importance of cherishing the relationship they have with each other.
Here are a few things that are working for us right now as the training continues:
No Fighting. Period.
This has been a rule as long as I’ve been a mommy. I do not tolerate my boys hitting, kicking, pushing, etc. Now that doesn’t mean that they can’t rough house and wrestle. They are boys and I realize that is just built into how they were created. I’m talking about intentionally hurting each other. That’s not allowed.
I have been reminding my boys for years that God gave them a brother to love, help and play with not to hurt and hit.
It took a few years but my boys are well trained in how to truly apologize. “I’m sorry” just doesn’t cut it around here. When my boys are unkind to each other I make sure that they take the time to apologize to each other. That means admitting that they did something wrong, asking for forgiveness and then taking steps to repair the relationship.
Is it easy to get my boys to truly apologize? Nope. Sometimes pride gets in the way and they have to take some time to get their hearts right before going to talk to each other. That’s fine. I would rather it take them 30 minutes to apologize instead of throwing a casual “I’m sorry” to the wind without addressing the sin in their hearts.
My boys share just about everything. All the toys belong to both the children I don’t say this toy belongs to my oldest or the other way around. Why? Because we are a family. We share the toys, the dishes, the chores, the love and the fun. I want my boys to understand that it’s not about “me” when it comes to family and relationships. It’s about the other person.
Before you start throwing tomatoes the boys to have things that are special to them. They are still required to share but we make sure that everyone is respectful and careful when playing with that special item. Likewise, the boys have spots in the house where they can go to be alone. They know to ask permission before climbing into brother’s bed because that is his special place.
Serving each other
I am constantly encouraging my boys to look for ways to serve and help each other. They help each other with chores. My oldest has been helping his little brother sound out words he doesn’t know when they read together. If they are cleaning up and someone finishes their job first I encourage them to go ask if the other needs some help. I have found that this one thing really goes a long way especially when there’s ongoing tension or conflict between my boys.
Working all of these ideas together can work wonders for the relationship of your children. The key is being consistent and intentional with it all.