Nurture sibling relationships
In the last column, I offered some tips on how to help your children be “sibling strong.” Often our siblings are the ones who teach us how to negotiate, cooperate and communicate. They help us learn to find our way, hold our ground and be each other’s keeper. Great sibling relationships need to be nurtured, and teaching siblings about love, loyalty and lifelong friendship is important work. Here a few more ideas.
Show support for each other. Make sure siblings attend each other’s events. It’s important to support and encourage each other, and knowing a sibling is giving up some personal time to sit in the bleachers or auditorium to be a part of something that is important sends a powerful message about loyalty and priority.
Teach them to say the important things. Simple greetings and courtesies have a great impact. Make sure siblings say good morning and good night to each other. Occasionally hearing your sibling say “I love you!” is tremendously affirming, encouraging and powerful. “Please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” aren’t just polite words for strangers either. Speaking and responding politely to these words teaches respect and compassion.
Don’t forget the sibling glue – prayer! Model, remind and encourage siblings to pray for each other daily. Begin each morning asking each child what they have going on that day, and through notes or texts remind your kids to pray for their sister taking a test at 2 p.m., or for their brother before his game at 7 p.m. Praying with and for each other becomes even more powerful after a disagreement or conflict. We need to teach our children to desire their sibling’s holiness and build each other up.
Siblings play an important role in helping one another grow into great humans and strong disciples; be sure to help them along that path.