Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Diminish Sibling Rivalry When You Celebrate Differences

Are you guilty of giving gifts to each sibling when it is only one child’s birthday? How about giving kids the same bedtimes? Or involving kids in the same activities? Dr. Kevin Leman says that sibling rivalry can be significantly diminished by ensuring that each child knows he holds a special, unique place in the family unit.

Celebrate differences. “What drives a kid away from sibling rivalry is allowing him to see that he is different, and embrace those differences,” he explains. It is okay to put into practice in your home that kids are treated differently. Age is a difference. Gender is a difference. Giftings and aptitudes are a difference.
“The state you live in will treat your kids differently,” notes Dr. Leman. “A 16-year-old gets to drive, a 14-year-old doesn’t. That’s life. And love is not diminished by this.”

Look for ways you can emphasize differences within your family. Where one is weak, another is strong. Even little things matter. At my house, the youngest has a knack for all things technological. He’s the one I call when I'm stuck, whether a computer freezes or I need to record a program on the DVR. Both my boys played baseball and basketball, but as they've gotten older, each has chosen to focus on the sport he was best suited for. God formed the family and populated it with people who are different. Celebrate that!

All posts in this Sibling Rivalry series:



Kris @ WUHS and Eclipsed said...

I was so looking forward to today's post because I love Dr. Leman and I detest the bickering between my kids. I'm not guilty of any of those things, though. All three of my kids have different bedtimes and are in different activities and only the birthday kid gets birthday gifts.

Guess I'll have to come back tomorrow and see if Jim Bob Duggar has the answers I seek. ;-)

Rebecca Ingram Powell said...

Hey Kris!

Always so nice to hear from you, girl!

Jim Bob is going to attack this as a heart issue--which is what I think it is, don't you? I think there are always things that you can do to diminish it, you know, practical things like Dr. Leman suggests, but at its core, sibling rivalry is about the heart. Look at Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Mary and Martha. It is the heart that is the culprit, and I think, therein, the crucial lesson of learning to put others feelings and well-being ahead of our own. And truthfully, for our kids, that seems to be easier for them to do when it comes to their friends than when it comes to their siblings...Stressing friendship as the very foundation of the sibling relationship is fundamental.

A mom mentor of mine was always bringing I Corinthians 13 before her kids when they fussed; hers was a great example to me, as I never really thought of the "love" chapter as applying to the sibling relationship--but it definitely does!

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