Marcus and I wanted our kids to be close right from the beginning. This was something that was very important for me and my husband. It is our hope and prayer that the closeness that has developed between our three kids will continue into adulthood. All three of my kids have a strong relationship with each other. This did not happen by chance or accident. It took work and purposefulness both on my part and my kids’. I want to share 7 Tips That Will Cultivate Strong Sibling Ties within your family.
1. Lead Them To Pray For and With Each Other
One thing we have always encouraged our children to do is pray for and with each other. When one is having a bad day, the other 2 pray for their sibling. One of my best examples of this was when someone deeply hurt my oldest daughter. My son and youngest daughter both quickly responded with prayer over her. This reaction was so rooted within their souls that they initiated it on their own. This helps them to have a tender heart towards each other.
When they argue and have a disagreement, the rule is they must check their hearts for any wrongdoing. This requires them to ask God to search their hearts and show them any sin they have committed against their sibling. Then they have to go to their sibling and pray with them about the situation. I find this practice draws them closer to each other and to God. When children are close to God, they are more likely to be close to each other. When they are full of God’s love, it is easier for them to display that love to each other.
2. Lead Them To Protect Each Other
Early on, we taught our son that he is a protector for his sisters. A good protector does not hurt or abuse the ones he cares for. He takes his responsibility very seriously and it shows. He is very gentle and tender towards his sisters.
My girls look out for each other and their brother as well. There was an issue with a specific area of sin in our family. If my one daughter had not informed my husband and me of it when she discovered it, then it would have continued on for a longer period of time. She was protecting her sibling by telling us what she discovered. Although it was a difficult situation, and very uncomfortable, she did what a protective sister ought to do.
They all just look out for one another. No matter what.
3. Lead Them In Silliness
We also allow a lot of room for silliness – with a husband who has an incredible sense of humour, this is inescapable. So, whether it is note passing during their school day or my son impersonating me – which is unbelievably comical, we encourage it.
Yes, I know that the three of them pass amusing notes to each other when they are supposed to be doing their school work. Or they write on each other’s books and draw witty pictures. I know what they are doing when they should be completing math problems or writing a dissertation – but they don’t know that I know. It is like their little secret. And this draws them closer to each other.
This means I am silly sometimes, too. Try pulling pantyhose over your head and not burst into hysterics while attempting to hold a mock serious conversation with your children…they just look at each other and talk about how weird mom is.
4. Lead Them In God’s Word
When God’s word is written upon their hearts, they can’t help but have a strong relationship with each other. They know that loving each other is God’s will for their lives.
When they know God’s word, they are capable of sharing these truths to each other when needed. I have seen this time and again in our family. They speak truth to each other.
5. Lead Them In Apologizing and Complete Forgiveness
Our kids are human, they will hurt each other. They will say something unkind. They will do something that causes pain. I teach my children to allow the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts of anything they have done wrong and then to go and sincerely apologize to the other person. I have taught them to ask God to help them in this area if they are struggling.
I have also taught my kids to forgive each other freely and graciously…even before the other has come to apologize. This means not harbouring resentment. Praying with each other really helps!
Sometimes hurts happen by accident, this mostly occurs with physical harm. I teach my kids to still apologize even if they did not mean harm.
6. Lead Them In A Relationship With Jesus
When siblings refuse to get along with each other then we are dealing with a heart issue. Therefore, the foundation for their relationships is Jesus. This is the most important point and one that should not be overlooked. They understand that the first commandment Jesus gave was to love God with all of their hearts, minds souls and strength. If they don’t love God like that, they cannot love others the way God intended.
The second commandment Jesus gave was “love your neighbour as yourself”. My children recognize that their siblings are their neighbors. It is a commandment from God to love each other. If they are not able to treat each other as Jesus commanded, then how are they going to be able to treat others with His love?
7. Lead Them In Knowing Each Other’s Hearts
One thing my kids do well is knowing what makes the others feel loved and cared for. They know each other’s heart. They know what makes each other happy and what makes them sad. They know each other’s spiritual giftings and how God has redeemed their hearts. They know about each other’s struggles and places of wounding and they help to bring healing to those parts.
A Note From My Kids
My oldest daughter says these things keep her close to her siblings: communication, forgiveness and hugs. She says that talking to each other as though they are friends is important. She also explains that being quick to forgive each other is essential for a healthy relationship with each other. They live together and are bound to do and say things that are hurtful. Learning to apologize and forgive quickly is essential for their close relationship.
My daughter realizes that hugs cultivate a deep-seated bond with her younger siblings. They know when one of them needs a hug and they freely offer plenty of them.
My son says that one thing that keeps them close is having a great sense of humour. And he is the expert here! He is incredibly funny and full of jokes and puns. He lives to make his siblings (and mom and dad) laugh. Not a day goes by that there is no laughter in our house.
My youngest says that spending time together is important for being close. She often plays Lego with her brother and watches funny videos with her sister while cuddled in bed.
These are 7 proven ways to help promote and encourage strong bonds between siblings, at least in my family they are proven! Praying for each other and with each other is probably the most important one (with the exception of inviting Jesus to be Lord of their lives) – or at least the one to start cultivating now if your kids are struggling in this area. Amazing things happen when our kids learn to pray for each other!
A Helpful Resource
Originally posted on Arabah Joy Blog, reblogged with permission
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