Why is it that we tell our children over and over that we are to love, respect, and be kind to each other and there’s still fighting . . . over EVERYTHING! Our homes are where we are to practice people skills and practice loving as Jesus loves, but for some reason, it sometimes feels like a war zone. It’s not just my home, right?? We need to realize the importance of sibling relationships as well as how to promote sibling bonding.
It is totally worth it to foster close relationships among your children. After all, the sibling relationship is one of the longest-lasting relationships your children will have. Despite the age differences, there are ways to promote strong bonds and build close sibling relationships.
- Sibling Bonds
- Bible Verses about Siblings
- Ways to Promote Sibling Bonding
- Sibling Bonding Activities
- Relationship Between Siblings
We don’t want to be dealing with sibling resentment in our homes, but it’s bound to happen at times. However, it’s important to recognize the importance of the sibling bond and build them. I have to admit that it’s been a bit over the top lately in our home, so I plan to implement some of the things we’ll be discussing! Learning ways to build relationships among our children will have a positive impact both now and in the future.
Importance of sibling relationships
So, why are sibling relationships important? If you have siblings yourself, I’m sure you know how beneficial or detrimental they can be, depending on the relationship. We want to encourage different ways for our kids to build a good relationship with their siblings that will last all their lives, since that is one of the most enduring relationships. How our kids interact with their siblings can also shape who they’ll become as well as peer relationships as adults. If you have a mix of genders, they will learn how to interact with the opposite sex. Siblings can become best friends into adulthood if those healthy relationships are nurtured.
Benefits of sibling relationships
As we’ve seen, encouraging our children to build a good sibling relationship is incredibly important. Our children can gain so much from sibling influences, even if they don’t always see past the now. Here are other great benefits of sibling relationships.
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- Increases emotional, physical, and mental health, even into adulthood.
- Built-in love and support no matter what.
- Gives the opportunity to practice leading and following.
- Teaches them to deal with criticism.
- They learn to apologize and not hurt the feelings of others, which is great for conflict resolution.
- A source of peace and calm in the home when the relationships are strong.
- They learn to look out for others besides themselves and learn to receive help from others as well.
- Helps them learn to share, take turns, and other social skills.
- Those with great sibling relationships are also found to be more successful in life.
Bible Verses about Siblings
According to the Bible, siblings have a special place in our lives. Your children may not always see this, but it’s important to let them know that they are to build the relationship with their sibling. Even close friends may come and go, but a brother or sister is such all through life. Siblings can have such a unique relationship.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17 ESV
There’s nothing like having your brother or sister be there for you in tough times. Likewise, you should be there for your siblings. Show your children what that looks like in real life. This Bible verse about sibling love shows that siblings are there for you no matter what, giving you the emotional support you need.
"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor." Romans 12:10
I love that phrase “outdo one another.” This verse assumes that brothers and sisters love one another, and we should show others that same kind of love and honor. Sibling rivalry and sibling conflict will be greatly minimized as your children learn to show honor to each other.
"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
This Bible verse shows us how we are to treat one another, regardless of whether it is a sibling relationship or not. We are to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, just as Christ is toward us. This will serve them well as they go into adult life.
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" Psalm 133:1
Unity is a good thing, especially when it comes to sibling relationships. It can be hard when your children are fighting amongst themselves constantly. Point out to your children how pleasant it is when they are getting along.
1 John 4:21
"And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." 1 John 4:21
You can’t say you love God but not love your brother (or sister). I know this is talking about brothers in Christ, but if your child claims to know Jesus, he needs to learn to love his siblings and build positive relationships with them.
Ways to Promote Sibling Bonding
How do you strengthen a sibling relationship? There are many ways that you as the mom can help strengthen the sibling relationships among your children. Talk to your children about the importance of their relationships, and remind them that friends will come and go but family is forever. It doesn’t matter if you have two or ten children, you can help foster the relationships between siblings. They will take their cues from you.
As you look for ways to strengthen sibling relationships in your home, figure out what will work for you and your family. Sibling bonding time will encourage those relationships as well as learning relationship skills. Below are some things to think about and put into practice to help improve the interpersonal relationships between your children.
Notice and promote activities that get your children playing together. When they are playing well, try not to interrupt them. Let them build those good memories together. I love watching the older siblings play with their younger siblings!
Praise and encourage team efforts. For example, when you’re trying to get ready to go somewhere, motivate your kids with the idea of helping each other get ready. Make it a team effort. The same goes for working on chores or a project.This will also improve family dynamics.
The bonding hormone
Encourage bonding by releasing the “bonding hormone,” oxytocin. Great ways to create that strong bond are through laughing, singing, dancing, wrestling, or playing outside together. Try to encourage these activities in your family home. The positive effects are so worth it!
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
Respect one another
Teach good people skills to your children. Instruct them to honor and respect each other. Teach them to communicate well, and have them practice listening skills. Help them work out their issues in a healthy way. Talk to them about the importance of forgiveness and apologizing when necessary. All these skills are important for the life experiences they will have.
Point out that God made each person special and unique, and that their sibling’s individual differences are special. Just because they are annoyed by something their sibling tends to do doesn’t mean they need to react in unkindness.
Tell your kids what it was like growing up with your siblings (if you had them). My kids love hearing those stories from your early childhood! Talk about how you worked out differences with your older sister or younger brothers.
Our children should be learning kindness to all, especially their siblings. This is a relationship skill that will serve them well in later life as well as now. Kindness helps us have a great relationship with those around us.
Encourage siblings to show compassion for each other. If someone is hurt or sick, show them how they can nurture and help that brother or sister. Teach them to look for ways to help one another. Perhaps they can bring them some soup or read them a story.
Respect is huge
Our children need to learn how to respect one another as individuals. Teach them to respect each other’s space, belongings, and time. It doesn’t matter the birth order, each child should respect each of his siblings.
Encourage and promote shared interests they may have. Have them spend more time doing those things together. Perhaps the older children can teach their little sister to bake. Activities such as this will promote sibling bonding.
Sibling Bonding Activities
We’ve just discussed some things to encourage, teach, or start with your kids in order to help strengthen their relationships. Now let’s move on to some actual activities to build sibling relationships and promote less conflict. If you have other ideas, be sure to let me know in the comments.
- Set aside time for 2-3 siblings to spend time together doing an activity such as building a fort or playing a game or sport. Shared experiences will help bond your children.
- Pray together. If you have family devotions or Bible time, have your children pair up with a sibling at times. They can share requests and pray for each other.
- Assign an older child to help a younger child with schoolwork or a skill they need to learn. For example, the older brother could help his younger sister learn to tie her shoes or ride a bike.
- Have your children learn to take turns vs share. You can set a timer. This makes it more of a cooperative effort.
- Make chores a team effort by having 2 or more siblings work together to complete the chore.
- Build family identity by having family traditions, which will bring your whole family together and give shared memories. Maybe you want to go camping with your kids each summer or have a weekly pizza and movie night. There are many options.
- Start a Kindness Journal. Write down kind things that your family members did for each other and then talk about them.
Relationship Between Siblings
As moms, we don’t want to be in the place where we’re dealing with sibling resentment. Instead, we want to grow and strengthen the sibling relationships among our children. We have seen the importance and benefits those sibling relationships carry even into adulthood. If you are looking for a Bible study resource, I recommend the sibling Bible study from Not Consumed or the book, Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. If you have any other ideas or favorite resources, please let me know in the comments.
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