Will My Kids Ever Get Along?
I remember asking myself that question a few times over the years when I had certain personalities or certain stages that just did not mix well.
Now, I don’t want to paint a picture that there was constant war. But still, when they were younger, I definitely wondered! But now...I am pleased to report that our older kids are emerging from all the drama as best friends!
But since I still have several to emerge out of the "formative years," I thought I would review for myself (and anyone else who wants to read) what were some of the best keys of how we got from slightly annoying sibling to friend.
1. Begin with the end in mind.
Settle in your heart that you intend to parent your kids toward interdependent relationships. Not separation.
2. Have a long term view.
When I saw Hannah and Lucas together this past weekend ministering together at a Not Open Conference we were hosting in Richmond, I was so blessed!
But when I saw the picture of them skating together afterwards, I thought of some of my others in the future. Could they get there also?????? What if it takes just a few more patient years?
3. Cast a vision with your words.
I remember telling my kids: you will most likely not have your childhood friends with you very long… but your siblings you will have for a lifetime. Honor them. See them as your lifelong assets.
4. Never allow conflict to go unresolved.
Hurt feelings and arguments are inevitable. But bitterness and separation are not. Teach your kids the skills of conflict resolution while they are young, and you have set them up to have friends - and spouses! - for life!
5. Avoid the dangers of comparison.
Each of my children is gifted, though none of them in exactly the same way! Let your kids experience your unqualified acceptance and praise, and then watch them learn to resolve their own natural tendencies of jealousy.
6. Avoid the "make everything equal" temptation.
If our kids feel our anxiety that every purchase, every privilege, and every interaction must be balanced for fairness, we live a life of constantly comparing and leveling the registers. Instead, show your kids that you will meet needs as they come, and they can trust that when one kid benefits one day...their turn comes another day.
7. Provide abundant opportunities for family fun.
There is no doubt in my mind that the long car rides on vacation, the goofy movie nights, and the laughter around the dinner table build more than just good memories!
8. Labor together on the same team.
Our kids serve Jesus side by side…
at outreach dinners for the impoverished…
in the children's church class…
outside the youth gym.
They learn to trust each other in the trenches of Christian service with an eternal value. And teammates stick together.
9. Let kids share bedrooms.
I can't say this one was easy. But as I look back, making siblings (of the same gender) in our house roommates has given them a lasting special bond as friends.
10. Teach them to sow into each other’s lives.
We do Christmas gifts and birthday gifts between sibs even when some people do not have much money! It is the thought and the investment that counts!
Make it a matter of prayer for wisdom and creativity to lead your children to friendship. It will be one of the greatest joys of your life!
Someday this mom will be old and sooooo glad my kids are friends!