Do you ever feel like you are spending your days playing referee in a battle over “she’s on my side” and “he touched me?”
I’ll admit that I’ve contemplated taking slicing lessons in an effort to better enable myself to cut the cake EXACTLY even lest there be an epic meltdown. (Ok, maybe not seriously, but wouldn’t that be an excellent parenting skill?)
Ah, to be a parent in the sibling war zone. I think they ought to change the definition of siblings to: people who can fight over even the very air you breathe. Haha. I kid. But if you have multiple children I know you chuckled as you shook your head in agreement. Even in the most godly families, siblings fight. Even when we try everything we know to foster the relationship, siblings fight. (Usually about everything.) It’s amazing how these little people (who can’t remember to put their shoes away) find so many things to fight over.
Back when I wasn’t yet a parent I was certain my kids would adore each other and always be filled with kind words and actions. Maybe you felt like that, too…. and then you had a child and all of your dreams went out the window the first time he took a wooden dump truck to the 6 month old’s head because “he was playing with that.” It’s funny thinking about that and yet sometimes so discouraging.
The truth is, all siblings fight. There is no such thing as siblings who get along perfectly all the time. Put any two people in the same space and you can count on conflict. Add in a little sprinkle of childishness and a self-centered worldview… you’ve got one volatile concoction on your hands. As parents we need to expect fighting, conflict, and even sibling rivalry. Learning to handle conflict is part of learning to get along with people and, well, kids have a lot to learn. (Don’t you feel better just knowing you aren’t alone?)
The good news is, we don’t have to throw our hands up and declare this an impossible win. As parents it’s our responsibility to help our kids grow and change in the likeness of Christ and this includes teaching them to deal with their siblings, no matter how annoyed they feel, with grace and love. The world has grown cold to this truth and parents are giving up hope that they can get to the hearts of their children and impact the way they relate to their siblings. DON’T fall into this trap, too!
I’ll be honest. I’ve got 4 kids and just thinking about “grace and love” between siblings feels like the most impossible task ever. True story… just last week one of my kids lost it over a sibling moving their backpack. (Can you say teenage hormones?) That day I was tempted with self-defeating thoughts like “You’d think we never work on this stuff” or “Hey, aren’t you the girl who wrote a Bible study on sibling relationships?” Oh my.
But the truth is, we do work on this sibling thing. ALL.THE.TIME.
As a mom, I’m careful not to breed sibling rivalry (see my tips here) and I work hard to foster a strong relationship for my kids (tips on that here.) I’ve even done that sibling Bible study I wrote twice! Now don’t get the wrong idea. It’s not that these things don’t work. They do! All three of these strategies are great for building the atmosphere I want in our home. But we can’t do these things one time and forget about them. Developing character and habits is a life-long process that needs daily fostering.
Which brings me to my super exciting news. If we are going to be about the business of helping our kids learn to handle their siblings with grace and love even when they aren’t feeling it, we need to help them establish the habit of treating their siblings this way when there isn’t conflict. During the month of February we are going to have a Love your Sibling Challenge here at Not Consumed to help us develop these habits.
The purpose of this challenge is simple. I want our children to engage in regular activities showing love toward each other. I want it to become a habit so natural that kind actions towards siblings at least come to mind when those fighting feelings start raging in their little hearts. And just to sweeten the pot, we are offering two incredible prizes for winning families.
One note: I would encourage you to remind your children that prizes are awesome, but we are only using it to motivate us when it’s hard. Doing kind things for your siblings is a biblical command and that’s why we are working on this skill!
Love Your Siblings Challenge Details
The contest starts February 14th and runs through March 14. Families will receive a printable list of ideas for showing love and kindness to one another. Each action will have a point value. Families will tally these points and turn them in each week of the contest. Details for how to do this will be shared via email, so be sure to sign up for the email list below.
100 extra points will be given to each person who completes the sibling Bible study, My Brother’s Keeper, during this month. So if you’d like to do that, make sure to purchase the study before the challenge begins. If you’ve already gone through it, this would be a great time to go through it again. We love doing that with studies as it’s such a beautiful refresher for the things God has already taught us and no matter how many times we do it, we learn so many new things. God’s Word is living and active!
Please note: purchase is NOT required to participate in this challenge. I don’t want anyone left out. You may do the printable list and earn points without going through the study. I’m only mentioning it here because it’s such a perfect fit for a challenge devoted to growing sibling relationships.
We are giving away some seriously awesome prizes. I really want this to be a life-changing experience for your family and couldn’t think of a better way to reward that than to offer prizes helping you spend more time enjoying each other. As a family, you will tally your points working together to achieve one of these prizes. The top 3 winners will choose the prize of their preference in rank order. For specific details on how to win be sure to sign up for the challenge below.
Homeschool Convention Package
The winning family will receive an exclusive trip to the Teach Them Diligently Convention location of their choice compliments of Teach them Diligently. This package includes:
- Family registration for the convention
- Children’s program tickets
- Hotel for two nights at host hotel
- $100 gas card for the trip
- One year membership to Teach Them Diligently 365
#NotConsumed Family Study Package
This package is designed to give your family a winning Bible study experience together. Each member of your family will receive materials to deepen and encourage his/her faith.
- Softcover copies of TWO Bible studies of your choice (including DO RIGHT coming out this month) for each person in your family.
- A set of JOY Prayer Cards
- A Quiet Time Journal for each member of the family
Create Your Own Adventure Family Vacation Package
Earn $500 toward a create your own adventure family vacation package compliments of Not Consumed. You may use the money to go to a favorite theme park, museum, campground, cruise, or pay for hotel and travel expenses. The only requirement is for you to only spend the money on something you can do together as a family. (Sorry, grocery shopping is not an option! Haha)
How to enter the challenge
As mentioned above, most of the details of this challenge will be handled via email. This is the best way for me to contact you and make sure you see it (without missing a post on social media or even here on the blog). ALL PERTINENT DETAILS of this challenge will be sent to you via email. You will also get reminders each week to help you stay on track with your points and turn them in for credit toward winning.
You will receive a printable with ideas for ways to love your siblings and a way to enter your scores each week, so be sure to sign up below.