I grew up in a home as the oldest of three. I have a younger brother and sister. Now, I do have more siblings but that’s a different post in itself. We grew up in a home with a single mother, who tried her best to raise us. This post is in no way to demean her, but to show how parents have the potential to create wedges within siblings and others.
1. Are You Priming the Pump?
My mom, as much as she loved us, always wanted a girl. The fact that she wanted a girl was made well-known. I knew she loved me, but I also knew how much she desired a daughter. When my sister (whom my mom would call her miracle baby) was born and started growing up, my mom would talk with great enthusiasm about the things she was doing. Which honestly never bothered me. However, when she began condoning and laughing at the things my sister would do, instead of disciplining her as she would my brother and me, it started to prime the pump for sibling conflict. Be careful of the manner in which you interact with each of your children. My mom called my sister her miracle baby and talked with great excitement about it. My brother, on the other hand, never experienced that, even though everybody born is a miracle from God.
- Are you unknowingly creating a breeding ground for your children to fight?
- Don’t Condone the actions of one child and discipline the other(s) for the same action, this will cause a dislike towards the sibling.
- Parents can create conflict through their actions.
2. Are You Celebrating One Child and Neglecting the Other(s)?
Let’s look at the story of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15. The brother ran off and spent all of his money on “riotous living” (v.15) He went back to his father ashamed of his actions and his father immediately threw him a party to celebrate his return. Let’s jump to verses 25-30 and see the older brother’s response. The older brother is upset, he honored his father, he remained faithful, and didn’t cause him grief. Yet, the father never celebrate him.
- Don’t withhold your Love (celebrations) from the other(s), while celebrating the one.
- Celebrate the little steps as well as the big.
- When something is consistent in our lives we are prone to take it for granted – Steven Furtick.
The older brother felt that he was taken for granted. He was never celebrated. The father’s response was “you are always with me and what I have is yours.” The younger brother’s return should have been celebrated. Think about this, who wants to throw their own party (he would have been called conceited) when their father is throwing one for their sibling. What son or daughter doesn’t want to be honored by their parent(s)? Do not take for granted that which has not caused you pain. He should not have neglected the older brother’s obedience.
3. Have You Created a Monster?
Joseph was loved by his father more than his older sibling. He loved him so much he made him a special coat. The brothers would not have hated Joseph if their father had not shown love to him more. They desired the love of their father and that drove their hatred towards Joseph. If they could get Joseph out of the way the Love of their father would have to be given to them, right?
- Are you creating a sibling rivalry through blinded favoritism (favoritism you are unaware of)?
- Do you find yourself telling your children not to fight or to love each other?
- They are a product of their environment. You created discord.
Are you the one in the sibling rivalry – conflict or are you the one creating it and wondering why they don’t get along? Either way, it can be correct. First thing, confess it, repent, and trust God to restore. Repent to your family and children. That step will really help build the bridge to a restored relationship. Second, ask the Lord to give you wisdom on how to Love and honor each one of your children.
Have you been in a situation like this or seen one? I would love to know how you dealt with it. Leave a comment letting me know how this post has helped you.
All of your children are miracles, not just the one you favor…
3 Behold, children are a [c]gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.