Sibling Bickering Solutions
Turning hearts doesn’t happen overnight, or without the Holy Spirit, but I want to encourage you… it IS possible for your home to be filled with peace and joy, instead of arrogance and arguments.
At the core of sibling interaction, from a Biblical perspective, is learning how to honor and serve as a member of the Body. It’s a place where sanctification happens, servanthood leadership is practiced, and the strength of friendship is experienced. It is a place of deep work and rich fruit.
Romans 12:16-18 “ Live in harmony with each other. Do not be arrogant, but associate with humble people… if possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.”
This is what our vision is, as we let the Holy Spirit teach our hearts, and the hearts of our children. Many times immaturity issues are “grown out of”. But character issues don’t resolve themselves. These traits must me trained and taught.
Without Him we can not love.
Without Him we can think of anyone but ourselves.
We must continue to remember that “good behavior” is not the ultimate goal. Hearts of honor, hearts of love, this is why training takes time.
But I get it, it all sounds inspirational in writing. but when you’re in the soundtrack of sibling screams all day and you’ve told them 1 billion times “stop touching your sister” it can get exhausting.
So here’s your solutions: I’m going to give you some philosophy tips and some practical tip. Let’s go.
As a parent : Think like a coach, not a referee.
Here’s what that means:
Typically when kids are bickering or bullying, it’s easy to simply intercept and fix the solution.
Referee Method looks like this:
You hear the screams and tears and the loud volumes of “That’s MINE!” . So you go in an angry huff you “Stop it! I’ve had enough! Give him the toy and don’t touch him again!”
This creates a pattern of you as a referee: The standard in your home is that YOU set things right. It will be expected for YOU to sort things out on their behalf. This does not serve you, them, or any future relationships they will have in the future.
This doesn’t teach them the skill of working together.
In the long run, we want our children to learn to talk together and work things out as a team.
Instead of being a referee, I suggest you should act as a coach giving guidance and practice. Coaches commentate what they see and what is expected next time.
Coaching Method looks like this:
“Kids sit down. Take a breath. The words you are using are not kind and helpful. Now Stephen, I see that you are upset because Sarah took your toy. Is that what happened? (Let Stephen talk). Sarah, we do not take toys. If you would like a turn, asked Stephen. (Let Sarah use her own words to say “May I have a turn?”)
You two are wonderful at working together. But if you two can’t get along with it, I will be taking it away until tomorrow.
(Yes this takes you stopping what you are doing for 2 min and then possibly having to do the same thing two minutes later. But over time, this pays off).
Call out what you see, help them see the scene from both sides, and then give a clear consequence.
I cannot tell you how many times in a day I say “Use your words.” “I see that you….” “let’s try that again with a calm and kind body”.
Referees fix things. Coaches train teams.
Sharing Hands is such a practical tool for littles. This is a previous reel for reference.
Equal choosing : Create equal choosing power and eliminate pain points. (Ex; one sibling can pick the show, but then the other gets to pick the episode. Or one sibling cuts the pieces of cake, but the other siblings get to pick their pieces first. One sibling gets to pick the music on the way to school, the other gets to pick the music on the way home. You get the idea. Here everyone practices taking turns and learning how to not get their way and still be pleasant.
Baseline Consequences: Create baseline consequences for high pain points. Instead of always saying “stop it! I mean it.” Identify top 2-3 sibling bickering starters and set consequences for those specifically to empower you as a parent to work on good habits.
Humor : Joy is a weapon of good! Consequences of joy are a great tool to contents anger.
If they quarrel you get to tickle them for 30 seconds
If something is taken they have to sit facing each other and jokes to each other
My mom use to give us a spoon and stir in an invisible pot (Prov 15:1). It would slow us down and we would usually end up giggling at each other.
Filter media : the TOP thing I look for in kid shows is how the interaction is between siblings and to parents. If the main characters are constantly complaining about “their annoying brother” or yelling at their mom… NOPE. That’s an easy eliminated show. Because whatever is modeled will be replicated.
I hope this gives gusto and grace to you in knowing habits take time. Skills take practice. Honor is modeled.
Don’t get discouraged. And you can do it! They can do it! Steady and strong, one “brick” at a time, one redirection, one pause to train, and before you know it you’ll see the fruit of honor and friendship.
Hard work is holy work,
*** Don’t forget… the Cirkles are cheering you on!
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