Family Real Life

Hip Homeschool Hop & Featured Blogger 7/16/13 – Teaching Our Kids to Get Along

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Hip Homeschool Moms Sibling Relationship Post
photo credit: and Ambro

My kids enjoy each other’s company – they are friends. But that is not to say they don’t have arguments or discussions that damage their relationship. They are also very different from each other – their perspective on things, their communication styles, their personalities – there is going to be conflict. The thing is, they’ve been taught how to get along.

Love one another is a foundational verse. It sets the stage for being kind, sharing, helping, making up. We do this because we love each other. We love each other because God made us a family and secondly because God made that other person.  He loves them and died for them, so we can love them too!

Respect each other as individuals. We taught our kids to recognize and respect each other’s differences, their strengths and weaknesses. As they grew older they were able to depend on each other’s strengths – one was good at spelling, another good at explaining concepts, one was good at wrapping gifts, another at fixing things. This creates an atmosphere of acceptance and working together.

You can encourage but you can’t boss. The Bible tells us to encourage each other to good works – but in the heart of a child this can soon become bossiness. We encouraged our kids to encourage their siblings to do the right thing and then leave it alone. We can influence the people around us, but we can’t make them do the right thing.

Pray for each other. Though it is easy to pray that God would deal with the sibling that has hurt or frustrated them, this is not a helpful prayer! Instead, our desire was that they would pray a blessing for their sibling – this was as much for their own heart – that they would leave the judgement to God, and that they themselves would not sin against their brother by getting angry or even.

Serve one another. The expectation was that they would drop what they were doing if their sibling needed help. They could pick up and return something that belonged to someone else, even if you didn’t use it or drop it. You could open a door for someone if they were carrying a heavy load. You could answer their questions or help them find answers, help them look for what they’ve lost, offer to do a chore if they were overloaded or busy, make their bed for them – the list goes on. These are everyday family life examples where our kids have an opportunity to serve each other.

Forgiveness. There are always going to be relational issues. We need to be humble enough to acknowledge we’ve done the wrong thing and to ask for forgiveness. On the other hand, we need to be humble enough to know that we too are forgiven and be quick to offer forgiveness to those who ask for it.

Communication skills. Any list on relational skills is going to include communication – to be brave enough to say what is on your heart, and to listen to not only the words but the heart as well, to read body language, to listen reflectively and ask for clarification, to ask questions instead of presuming. I think most issues arise because someone has not taken the time to listen carefully.

Our kids can have a good relationship with each other – but they need to be given the skills.

Hip Homeschool Moms Belinda Letchford profile picAbout Belinda: I am an Australian mum of four. Josh is 20, Jess is 18, Naomi 16, and Daniel 14. We’ve homeschooled for 16 years – our oldest two have graduated and have moved onto the next stage of their life which includes study, work and volunteering in the community. We live in the far north of Australia which is a unique and rugged part of our country. I love scrapbooking and try to find snippets of time to be creative and relax with that, though one day, I’d like to get back to working with fabric, either with dressmaking or fabric based crafts. I am married to Peter, who is a vet and flies around the vast countryside servicing the cattle properties. Peter’s and my heart is to help families be intentional in raising their kids – in the discipleship of their family. We hopefully encourage those in our community as well as online with my blog, Live Life with your Kids, and my website, Lifestyle Homeschool.

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  • I love my brother more than anything. I could not ask for a better brother. We get along better than a lot of other kids because our parents taught us to love each other, be nice to each other, help each other, etc. But like you said, we of course bump heads. This post was sweet and reminded me of one of my favorite people in the world.
    Thank for the post and thank you for hosting.

  • Well done, Belinda! I’ve raised my kids with the same mindset and heart thoughts. It makes a big difference in the way a house feels when the children are able to get along and are friends with each other. I would comment on your paragraph about forgiveness: I try to teach my kids to offer forgiveness quickly, even if the offender hasn’t asked for forgiveness.

    • Thanks for mentioning that. I think that is an important part of relationships – any relationship.