One of the greatest sources of frustration for parents is sibling squabbles.
Kids argue, and are mean to each other. Often they irritate each other, and enjoy aggravating each other. Parents often feel overwhelmed by the continual teasing, put-downs, bickering, tattling, meanness, and on and on.
Sometimes our home seems more like a battlefield. As a busy mom, it’s easy to get frustrated, and wonder why in the world they can’t just treat each other right, and get along with each other!
The truth is that this behavior is a natural thing because of their sin nature, but it isn’t something we should allow. It’s something that we need to stay on top of, and deal with EVERY time. It is our job as parents to train and teach them to control their selfish nature.
Rather than putting themselves first, we need to teach our kids the Bible principle of putting others before self. The Bible tells us that the 2nd greatest command is to love our neighbor as our self. Loving others doesn’t come naturally, but God says it’s VERY important! (Check out I John 4:20, 21)
The next time your kids are fighting or having a conflict, remember this:
Conflict with brothers and sisters is a child’s first class in relationships. Your home is the classroom, you are the teacher, and honor is the curriculum. Each conflict situation becomes an opportunity for teaching children how to get along. Addressing sibling conflict isn’t easy, but the work you do now will not only make family life more peaceful, it will help your children develop adult skills that will assist them for the rest of their lives. ~Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, & Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Turansky & Miller
I know how frustrating the sibling conflicts can be, from dealing with our 8 kids over the years. However, I love the idea that those conflicts are an OPPORTUNITY for us to teach them.
What do you do when your kids are arguing and fighting? How do you handle it? Probably the most common response is to ask “Who started it?” or “Who had it first?”
However, those are the WRONG QUESTIONS! When there is conflict, both of the kids have heart issues. Rather than trying to determine who is “to blame”, we need to determine what is in their heart that’s causing that behavior.
There are 5 common issues of the heart that lead to squabbles:
1. Anger (Proverbs 29:22 – An angry man stirs up strife.)
- Teach them how to control their spirit and responses. The anger itself isn’t sin, it’s what they do with it.
Be ye angry and sin not.
- Teach them how to give a soft answer, and how to forgive. (Proverbs 15:1, Ephesians 4:32)
- Show them how anger hurts them. (Proverbs 27:3)
2. Pride (Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride comes contention)
- Point them to Scripture and show them how pride brings destruction.
- Teach them that God resists the proud. (James 4:6)
3. Tattling (James 4:11 Speak evil of no man.)
- Teach them how to handle the problem; no tattling rule
- Make it better for them to solve it themselves
- Refuse to listen to an evil report
4. Scorning (Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner and contention will cease.)
- A scorner is the one who puts the other one down verbally
- Teach them how to build up and encourage each other
- Teach honor versus scorning
5. Contentiousness (Proverbs 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.)
- The contentiousness person is the one with an argumentative spirit, who has to get the last word in.
- Teach them how to be a peacemaker
- Teach them not to be easily offended
God created the family as a place for us to learn and grow. As a parent, you have the opportunity in your home to teach your children how to treat others with kindness, and how to handle conflict in a Biblical way.
Don’t give in to frustration when there is sibling conflict. Seize that opportunity to address the heart issue going on, and do some teaching and training from God’s Word. Dealing with sibling squabbles isn’t fun or easy, but the more work you do now to train them and help them in this area, the more peaceful your family life will be. It will also help your children develops peacemaking skills that will be helpful to them as adults, for the rest of their lives.
For more in depth teaching, and additional tips on practical ways to deal with sibling squabbles in a Biblical way, check out my ebook: Sibling Squabbles.