When members of the family live in close proximity and spend a lot of time together, there is bound to be tension in relationships at times. As a parent, you can see those nudges, unkind words, and rolled eyes. You can feel that tension between siblings. You can feel the distance that is growing between the siblings in your family. How do you go about mending fractured sibling relationships?
When I notice these fractured sibling relationships, here’s the process I follow for my next steps:
- The first thing I do is take it to the Lord in prayer. I ask him what He wants me to do and what my role should be.
- Next, I talk to my husband and/or trusted people in my life who know my kids well for advice.
- Then, I observe and write down my observations.
- Finally, I take action based on my first three steps. This may be action that I need to take or hand that responsibility over to a family member better suited to address the situation.
My husband and I have instilled into our children that they cannot leave a fractured relationship. Unspoken hurts and broken trust cannot be swept under the rug. We want peace and harmony but that requires doing the hard work of addressing conflicts and tensions. Not addressing sibling conflict is not an option!
How to Talk to Each Sibling
Here are some things to remember and consider when talking to each sibling involved in the conflict:
- Make sure your child knows they can trust you.
- Not addressing it is not an option.
- Delaying to pray when needed is appropriate.
- Be slow to speak.
- Ask questions.
- Don’t be accusatory.
- Let your child know you’ve been observing and noticing them.
- Pray with your child.
- Give your child a hug and kiss.
- Tell your child you love them.
- Reassure your child that you’re going to work through this with them.
Handling Oblivious Children
Some kids will be an open book and share things with you easily. Some kids don’t have a clue that anything is wrong! What do you do with oblivious children who have no idea they are causing a problem? Here are some points to bring up and ways to talk to them:
- Ask if they’ve noticed the issue.
- Talk through the circumstances.
- Acknowledge that they might not be aware that there’s a problem.
- Explain how a sibling may see things differently.
- Keep it simple and refrain from restating your point over and over again.
- Talk about creating different patterns of behavior that would reduce the tension.
We want to do life together. We want our kids to live in harmony with their siblings. Mending fractured sibling relationships and addressing these conflicts when they are young is an important part of raising your children to have strong sibling relationships well into adulthood.
References and Links
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- Learn more about Parenting Beyond the Rules
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