Raising siblings to love each other is very possible. It isn’t without its challenges but I promise you it is worth the effort. I remember the struggle when my older children were younger, and the normal sibling rivalry started. It wasn’t the way I wanted my children to grow up, so I decided right then that I was going to work to create an atmosphere where sibling love was part of the dynamics of our home.
Raising Siblings To Love Each Other
I grew up in a home where I was the youngest by 5 years, until my baby sister was born when I was 12.
Our family was normal by family standards. You know sibling fights, one sibling stealing your holiday candy, another one using you as a punching bag, and so on.
My husband’s growing up years had similar stories of sibling rivalry and strive.
I was determined that our family would be different.
I wanted my children to be siblings that loved each other, and it be obvious to others!
I had a bag of tricks that I worked into our day to nip bickering in the bud. They really worked well for the two children that were closest in age.
However, I had work to do when I had siblings with several years separating them, but to this day, it is easier to put the effort in early and seeing fruits of my labor than the number of challenges that we face.
I can say that our children love each other. In fact, they are true friends, even when the largest gap is 15 years.
As a parent, it is the sweetest feeling to witness a true friendship with your children and probably one of the most life giving efforts, aside from building their faith.
Raising Siblings to Love Each Other Tips
I would love to share with you some of things we did, and some resources that will help you raise siblings to love each other.
Be Intentional About Your Children’s Relationships
I knew that I didn’t want my children to deal with the sibling rivalry that most homes experience. I wanted my children to be each other’s best friends. I daily told them that they were created to be best friends, and they knew that I meant it.
We prioritized our life to demonstrate this belief by providing our children with more time together, than with other children.
They had friends, and enjoyed the times we spent with others, but on a daily basis, I wanted them to consider the friends that were sharing the same house.
Don’t Allow Bad Behavior Between Them
Growing up, I was a pushing bag for a sibling. It was all fun and games for that sibling, but not so much for me. My husband had a similar experience growing up. He even told me that at one time he grew to hate this brother. As he grew that feeling has changed, but they aren’t really close.
We were adamant about not allowing our children to hit each other, call each other names, or to be unkind in the ways siblings have done. If they did these things, they knew they had consequences.
Of course, there were times that it seemed that I was constantly correcting our children for the things that every other home seemed to allow and say was normal. It wasn’t easy, but today, I see the fruit of those hard days. If you are diligent in your training, you will too and will experience the joy that I know now.
It hurts me to see parents allowing their children to harm each other in words or in action. They are creating bullies in their own home in a way that they would never permit other children outside their home to do to their children.
Foster Love When It Isn’t Present
There are so many opportunities in a day of a family, especially a homeschool family, where love isn’t present. Having to share toys, do the same things instead of your idea, share a room or even a house when you are in a bad mood or just wanting some alone time.
We had a few things built into our day that would foster love when it wasn’t present and even help our children understand what it really looks like to love another person.
These things were in form of action.
If they were mean with their mouth or body, the two children involved would have to hug each other until love was obvious. Some times this lasted two minutes, and others times it lasted 30 minutes. It worked!
I created an hour a day in the afternoon where all of my children had to do something with each other. We called it sibling time. My children still do this today, but with the adults, they don’t do as often but it is still a priority.
My children have learned how important it is to spend time together and to grow a relationship.
I know that this has not only helped them in other relationships, but will aid them in their marriages, as well.
Resources for Raising Siblings to Love Each Other
My good friend, Kimberly Sorgius from Not Consumed, has a heart for sibling relationships. She has a resource that will be a great way to study about sibling relationship called My Brother’s Keeper.
My Brother’s Keeper comes in YOUTH and in JUNIOR, so you can use it for multiple ages.