One of the most challenging things I have been facing these days in motherhood is dealing with the relationships between my little ones. Sibling relationships can be complicated and very difficult to referee! I have been annoyed, frustrated, disappointed and clueless in some respects as to how to deal with my children and their relationships. The two older ones are both at ages (5yrs, 2yrs) where their wills and emotions are strong, stern and unforgiving. They both desire independence, attention and justice. Dealing with taddling, arguing, yelling, and sometimes hitting can be emotionally draining on me. Especially when my expectations of them are high. The Lord has been showing me lately that I am the one who needs to refresh my perspective and begin to invest time and attention into these relationships as they will be the foundation for all their relationships in the future. If siblings cannot get along it will be difficult for them to interact with other children outside the family.
I have realized that this is common for children to go through these seasons of learning how to interact and engage with others their own age and even different ages. (This is one benefit of homeschooling; my kids have to learn to spend time with eachother, not just other children their own age and mental/physical levels – it teaches patience:) My expectations, however, need to be clearly communicated AND demonstated in my behavior and engagement with them. In our house, we are cultivating a culture of HONOR, RESPECT and LOVE in our relationships. I feel as though sibling relationships are vitally important and NEED the investment of the parent to see them through. The home is a wonderful and safe place to teach and learn about how to interact with one another. It is a blessing to be able to watch our children learn and grow and be able to discipline and correct them when needed.
I have established a few core values that we go by in our relationships with one another. These are biblical principles that encourage character building and test the heart and motives of the situation. It is hard as a mother to see everything that goes on and often I do not see who started what but we always come back to these values to determine the outcome of a disagreement. I want my kids to know that the reason I correct them is because I love them and wants what is best for them. If a parent refuses to discipline or correct their child how can they really say they love them? Learning obedience, kindness and appropriate social and emotional behaviors are beneficial to children and will help them to form relationships of their own. If there is no oversight or correction the child will be unable to grow into their full potential. Making sure your kids know that discipline = love can change their perspective and help them to recieve your words of caution.
Here are some of the values that we hold. I think over the next week or so we are going to make a poster board with these written on them so that they can be hung in the playroom and serve as a reminder to us all:)
1. We use kind words with eachother always. (Gal 5:22-23)
2. We treat others the way we want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
3. We love one another regardless of how we feel. (1 Cor 13)
4. We always extend forgiveness to each other. (Matt 6)
5. Anger is not a solution, it is an emotion and we need to learn how to have self-control (Gal 5:23) when we are angry. We settle arguments before the end of the day. (Eph 4:26)
6. Obedience is better than sacrifice, obedience is our goal. (Deut 5:33)
Motivation, heart relation and relationships are more important to me than making mistakes and always being right. At the end of the day I want them to love one another and realize how special they are to God, us (their parents) and each other. I have been amazed to watch them grow in these areas this week. It has been a lot of work but slowly we are getting there, with much prayer and practice we will be a family who values our relationships as first priority! As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another. (Prov 27:17) God has given us each other to develop our character by pressing through the hard times and learning how to love as he does.
May you be blessed in your relationships this week! May to experience a deeper level of connection and commitment to each other. May you be a family who honors eachother at all times!!
LOVE this! We’re about to welcome our first little sibling into the family this summer. And I pray that they will be loving and caring brothers. And I hope that I will put the effort into focusing on the heart, rather than just the behavior, too! Have you read “Shepherding a Child’s Heart” by Tedd Tripp? I’m working through it now and love the principles he shares! It’s very similar to your thoughts.