Three Strategies for Fighting Siblings

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So many feelings right there. Many good feelings; many deep sighs from this mom.

If your kids are anything like mine, the endless summer hours mean extra nit-picking and arguing.

If you are anything like me, you might be bracing yourself for the fighting.

Quick reminders:
We are not horrible parents because our kids fight.
These kids are not savages.
They are practicing relationships.
Practicing, not nailing. Obviously.

It is going to happen, isn’t it? The squabbling is inevitable. So here is where we parents huddle up, making game plans and nailing down some plays.

From a mom who is quite intimate with conflict, here are three strategies we use for fighting siblings:

1. Scripture. This one causes my kids to roll their eyes but I am unswayed. It is where the training begins for us. Our kids need a good clutch on what God says about them and their relationships.

A five minute break to copy a Bible verse or a week to memorize one. Oh look, I think God wants me to live in peace with my sister dearest. Who would have thought??

When my boys are in combat mode, reading a few specific verses every single morning before they even get started, is very preventive. Together, they look up every verse and take turns reading.

Here is a short list of our favorite verses:
Colossians 3:13
Romans 12:17-18
Philippians 2:3-5
Proverbs 17:17
Galatians 5:25-26

2. Apologizing! This is an art, a skill to be mastered. And we lucky parents get to teach it.

After the injustice is verbalized, there are three parts we stress in a good apology:
The offender looks the other in the eye, uses the words “I’m sorry” and states what he is sorry for. Every time.

Even if the victim still feels unsettled, it is very powerful to hear themselves say “I forgive you.”

Am I jerk for making them hug it out?

3. Serving! Oh, my kids are big fans of this one. (Sarcastic font)

There are dozens of ways siblings can serve each other:
Clearing their breakfast dishes
Taking on one of their chores
Baking their favorite cookies
Offering up their favorite toy

Serving is powerful because it does not just take down the wrong, like an apology, it goes a step further and stacks up good. It reminds them of the hardy value inside their sibling; value worth serving.


So there you have it. Those are our three favorite strategies for clashing siblings.

I would love to hear your family’s ideas, tricks and tips!

We are in this parenting thing together and maybe if we all put our heads together, we can harness the chaos and raise a whole generation of world changers!

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  1. I think I need to bookmark this post and read it pretty much every day. Good ideas here! My kids are going through some sibling rivalry, and even the one-year-old is participating. It starts early.

  2. We enforce the same process for apologizing too. Every time. I agree: training them to take ownership for their actions is powerful stuffs, and getting in the habit of extending forgiveness will serve them throughout their life. My favorite is when they walk through the whole apology/forgiveness routine without my help. Overhearing it makes my heart so happy.

    • Oh that's my favorite too. (Praise hands) It's working! We are doing something right! :)
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rachel!

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