Getting Along With Siblings

School’s out. The family has switched into a summer rhythm. Children, who now have additional time together throughout the week, could also wrestle with increased sibling rivalry. That’s never fun. Hurt feelings can easily erupt. What can a parent do to help those brothers and sisters get along in wholesome ways? First, talk about developing respectful relationships at home. Recognize that everybody has days when they are not pleasant (adults, too) but that is not a license to give way to rude behavior. Instead have a plan. Create a keyword, like butterfly or hot fudge, or set out a basket of blue poker chips, that means “I need time alone.”  If the keyword is spoken, or the chip set out on the table, back off and give that person some space. Second, schedule activities for your sons and daughters to look forward to: church camp, horseback lessons, camping trips, sport camps, mission outreach, family vacation. Teenagers are often welcomed as camp counselors, too. My daughter, at 15, worked with the YMCA summer camp staff. It was a wonderful summer. And many a teen finds part-time to full-time summer work which allows them to have spending money and begin to save for college. Third, keep communication open with your kids; and internet access under parental approval. Know who your child’s closest friends are. Invite them to your house for games, movies, food … so you get to know them, too. Above all, make the most of these memory building months with your family.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 NIV 


Tame the Family Dragons

What are the dragons in your family mix? Those things that just keep coming back up as a perpetual topics of conversation. Dragons aren’t all the same. Some are even friendly in nature, but most raise a nasty ruckus and can be scary. To tame the dragons, you’ve first got to name them. Is someone in your house an all consuming sports-enthusiast, a constant texter, an over-eater,  addicted to porn, or caught up in substance abuse? Is there an interfering in-law, a teen involved with a troublesome peer group, or disrespectful language that prevails? Take a few moments, without being critical, to discuss this important topic with family members. Together make a list of at least one thing that can be done to tame each dragon and gain a happier family experience.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalms 19:14 NIV