I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. COLOSSIANS 2:4, NIV
Every family with more than one child at home faces sibling rivalry. Even when it's not showing itself in fights and raised voices and loud cries of "Mom!" you can be sure it's going on! They're jockeying for position. They're watching to see who's getting more and who's getting away with less.
I remember coming home frequently to a spat or dispute between sons and daughters. Somebody had taken something without asking... somebody had left something out with the cap off and ruined it . . . somebody had been goofing off when they were supposed to be helping out. Sibling rivalry was the never-ending story.
There were times when Barbara and I wondered if these kids of ours would ever be able to get along. Would they grow up to hate each other the way they so often seemed to at home?
But I want to encourage you today: Even when you're bone tired and worn down and feel particularly ill-equipped to handle these relational "muggers," jump in the middle and work to get these warring factions back together. I'm convinced that one of the reasons sibling rivalry exists is to give you the opportunity to prepare and train your children for lifelong relationships in their marriage and families. When your children learn to settle their differences with each other, admit their own faults and ask for forgiveness, they are
learning methods of conflict management that will serve them throughout their lives.
One of our most endearing joys today is to watch our grown children—the same kids who got under each other's skin so often when they lived under our roof—rally around a brother or sister in moments of crisis or need. I assure you, the time you spend training them is well worth the effort, even when you're not sure it's getting results. Trust me: They are getting it—even if they are acting like they aren't!
How are you currently using sibling rivalry to train your children in conflict resolution? What could you do differently?
Pray for perseverance. You'll need it.