Being together day after day, especially while homeschooling, can be challenging. We added to that by wanting our children to build strong relationships with us and each other.
Dan and I don’t have good relationships with our siblings. That is why we focused on it a lot during our parenting. We wanted our children to have better relationships with each other than we do with our siblings.
Good relationships take a lot of hard work.
- Yes mom, you will need to work on this frequently.
- “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass
Start when they are really young – One or younger.
- It’s never too young to start to train our children to be kind and gentle with their siblings and others.
- “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Pro 22:6 KJV
Older siblings can care for the younger ones.
- This builds bonds between them.
- It is not asking too much of them to help care for a younger sibling.
- It is not making them do your work. (I’ve gotten this response a lot.)
- It is teaching them to care for each other.
Help them learn how to pray for each other.
- In our morning and evening devotions we ask what they would like prayer for before we pray.
- This will help them become aware of things their siblings struggle with.
- It will also teach them to ask each other what they need prayer for or to pray for them when they struggle.
- We used our sir names a lot – This is how Sather’s do this. Sather’s have chosen not to do this because… Sather’s enjoy… Sather’s are kind to each other. You get the idea. It creates a bond for us as a family.
Teach them how to forgive and forget.
- Learning how to forgive is a must. Life will not go well unless you do this one thing well.
- “…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” Heb 12:15 NKJ
- If they bring up past offences that have been worked through be sure to remind them that they’ve forgiven that and need to ask Jesus to help them set it aside and not hold it against the offender.
Teach them how to repent when they’ve sinned against each other.
- Remind them, friends come and go, but siblings are forever.
Share how you wish you had better relationships with one or more of your siblings.
- God choose these siblings for each other. Remind them of this. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
- I’ve often told my daughters that their brother is helping to prepare them for marriage. The same is true for our son.
Help them learn to do nice things for each other – without being asked.
- Surprise a sister by making her bed, or picking up her toys.
- We used to have a little stuffed puppy that we would leave when we did something unexpectedly for someone. That often encouraged them to take the puppy and so do something nice for someone else so they could leave the puppy.
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” Col 3:23 NIV
Have family traditions
- We joke that we have so many traditions at the cabin we rent that we can no longer do them all in one week. It’s true. We prayed for a place we could rent every year and we were blessed with one that we’ve gone to for 25 years. Even after all that time it is everyone’s favorite vacation.
- Things like who can see the cabin first, s’mores for breakfast, the rainy day box, and trips to Bargain Bills are memories we all share.
- Family hugs – we envision our adult children having family hugs through out their lives.
- “…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”Isa 40:31 NIV
Share some ways that your family builds up your relationships.
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