(The video version of this post is at the bottom, if you would rather listen than read!)
This video is packed with scriptures regarding conflict. It’s a little like drinking from a fire hose! I hope you have a pen and paper ready to take notes. Most of all I hope you are greatly encouraged and will be able to face sibling conflict with a whole new arsenal, attitude and more creativity!!
One of the biggest mistakes I made along the way was to assume that my kids would get along…in other words, that fights would be few and far between. It wasn’t until I changed my thinking that I was able to take those confrontations and use them as a springboard for growth. It made such a difference to expect conflict and to have tools ready so I didn’t get so frustrated by it
Proverbs is chock full of great verses to help us with parenting and with conflict. Here is the rapid fire list of just a few examples in Proverbs that we can apply to parenting:
Proverbs 12:1- We need to not be afraid or feel bad about disciplining our kids!
Proverbs 12:12- When our kids are jealous of their sibling’s well earned reward and are even wanting to share in it, the Bible likens it to thievery.
Proverbs 14:9- It’s not okay when our kids make light of disobedience or treating their siblings poorly.
Proverbs 15:1-One of the most challenging things to learn is how to return a gentle answer to a sharp comment, but it’s pretty successful way to diffuse and argument and send the conversation/situation an entirely different direction. In fact, it’s very empowering. Our kids (and we) need to know that we aren’t helpless in those situations. There is potential to change the entire landscape simply by following this one truth!
Proverbs 15:28-Learning to think before speaking. ALWAYS a good idea!
Proverbs 15:33-Humility precedes honor…we want to teach our kids what a great quality humility is! God honors it!
Proverbs 16:32-Having 5 boys in the house meant there was a fair amount of “powering up” over each other both verbally and often physically. Although this is natural and part of the conquering nature God put in our boys, it’s also important to help them contain that within God’s boundaries. Here, we are told, “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.”
Proverbs 17:14-Having the discernment to see that a fight is about to break out and to be able to waylay that is a skill many people don’t have! It can sure prevent some serious ramifications!
Proverbs 17:27-Have you ever noticed that people who use a lot of words tend to say things they shouldn’t? Better to use far less and not risk it. It takes a person of understanding (discernment) to be even tempered.
Proverbs 19:11-It’s absolutely ok and respectable to overlook a wrong!
Some practical things you can do to help your kids work through conflict:
Having them work together. If that is clearly not going to work you can try keeping them completely apart…absolutely no contact. It’s amazing when they can’t have access to each other, how much more they appreciate each other!
Races-50 yd dash, bike race, run around the house (physical responses work well especially for boys!)
Write a letter to each other (or do it verbally) telling the other what they appreciated/respected about the other
Bless the other person with some act of kindness. I remember once we let the kids exchange names and they couldn’t tell whose name they had and for several days they were that person’s “secret angel”. They would do kind things like make the person’s bed or do a chore for them, but they would have to do it on the sly and try not to get caught! They really had fun with that!
I Thessalonians 5:12-18 This is a great list of bullet points that tell us very directly how to BE the Body of Christ to each other and this passage is just as applicable to family life.
We want to encourage our kids to have a heart of love toward each other…having the other’s best interest in mind and as the scripture says, to spur one another on to love and good works. That means when there is conflict or offense, instead of jumping all over the other person, they learn to recognize how letting that other person continue in that behavior is NOT God’s best for them.
Lastly, and most importantly, pray consistently over your kids and their relationships with each other. Unless God does the work in their hearts, it’s just surface and temporary. What we want is a deep work of the Holy Spirit. Obviously we have to START with working on behavior, but ultimately we want our kids to own their part and their relationship with God.
Remember, we are looking for improvement, not perfection, so rejoice in every little bit of progress!!