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Challenge: Raising Siblings

How to Raise Siblings to be Best Friends... And Why it's ok When They Aren't

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Do you want your kids to be best friends? Then you need to teach them how to serve each other. Is there any better way to learn to love someone than to step outside of yourself and serve them? I'll answer for you, no there isn't. Whether that's lending a listening year, helping during a time of need, speaking words of encouragement, or just performing a simple act of kindness. As you spend time thinking about another person's needs, and acting on those thoughts your heart will soften towards them and you might find yourself feeling a little happier as well.

In our family we frequently become what we call, "Secret Service Agents." Each child is assigned a family member who for one week they are challenged to secretly serve. To complete the challenge, at least one act of service must be done each day and documented. Identities are to remain a mystery until the end of the week when we guess who our secret service agent was and share how the acts of kindness we received AND gave helped us.

BUT, if your kids aren't best friends all the time, that's totally OK... actually it's more than OK, it's crucial to their development! It is so important that we teach our kids that it is OK to disagree with someone, and how to do so respectfully. It's also just as crucial that we teach our kids how to take responsibility for our actions and resolve conflict.

If you have more than one child then I'm guessing more often than not you are greeted and not so pleasantly I might add, with a "He did...," "She did...," "But he said...," "But,first she...," Ok, you get the point. I'll stop before I send you into a panic and you lock yourself in your closet with ice cream. Next time this happens don't scream and run for the freezer, just send your kids to a responsibility chair, or bench, or room, or blanket or wherever works for you and don't let them leave that location until each child can recognize and share what THEIR part was in the altercation.

If you find your children disagreeing, don't jump in and tell them who is right...just play the role of moderator. Let each child express their feelings in a kind, calm way and encourage the listener to really listen...not just sit quietly thinking how wrong the other person is. Come on... you know we've all done it. Maybe they won't agree at the end of it, maybe they will. But they're learning how to respectfully disagree...something we could see more of in our world today.

So, go ahead give these ideas a shot, and then maybe you can save that ice cream for those fun teenage hormonal outburst.

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