Recovering from Sibling Rivalry
Last week, Lady Jane shared with us some of the reasons why siblings fight as children:
- Parents Favoritisms
- Parents pointing out that one child is smarter/better than the other child.
- Parent’s divorce and settle ondivided custody of the children.
Lady J. pointed out that these behaviors can result in “long standing hatred between siblings, which can be very dangerous and even deadly.”
She shared some guidelines to avoid sibling rivalry among our own children.
We were advised to dig deep for reasons of the rivalry; ensure equal treatment; have positive relationships; have family rules; have one on one time with each child and when the children are old enough, allow them to do things together as siblings without a parent.
Today we will look at some of the pains/ hurts that follow us into our adult life as a result of our childhood sibling rivalry. Sometimes the pains of these experiences are too difficult to let go of.
The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
When we become adults, what becomes of our childhood sibling rivalry ?
- There is conflict and self-doubts
- We pass the generation curse on to our children
- For some, rivalry continues to burn deep
How do we heal from what was childhood sibling rivalry andis now“adult sibling rivalry “?
- Communication -Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom;
And with all your acquiring, get understanding.”
It is good if we make every effort to heal the sibling relationship if at all possible. We are doing this for ourselves. How, what must I do? We must open communication with our siblings.
In any relationship a lack of communication skills causes problems.
- Avoid sarcasm. Stick to the facts.
- Avoid interpreting behavior, don’t try to tell him/her what their behavior means.
- Don’t ask questions if you’re not willing to hear the answer.
- Be a good listener.
- Ask questions that will help you gain understanding.
B.Secondly, Make Friends With Your Siblings – 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannotlove God whom he has not seen.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to improve a relationship with a sibling you’ve felt a rivalry with. You owe it to yourself to be healed so that you can be the best parent/person. So that you can be a better you.
- Take the first step. Don’t let pride or stubbornness stop you from improving your relationship. If you wait around for the other sibling to approach you, it may never happen.
- Don’t expect them to be who you want them to be.
- Clear up misunderstandings,misunderstandings only makes things worse.
- Show up at family functions. If you don’t show up, siblings might think you’re trying to avoid them or that you feel hostile toward them. Even if you don’t feel like going, make the effort to go.A good relationship requires spending time together.
- Be there for your siblings during hard times. These times can help you draw closer together. Always do your part to keep in touch. Send a card of “ thinking of you.”
As you become friends with your siblings, it’s important to be patient, keep a closeness, be patient, and communicate effectively. Doing these things making needed changes in your own life, will be valuable steps in overcoming your sibling rivalries.
In spite of all that you do to make amends or to fix the sibling brokenness, it can not be done by you alone. Once you have done your part let God have it. It is then up to Him. You will be free and you will be able to live your best life.
This will be a great challenge. Pride will have to be swallowed many times. Prayer will be your weapon for victory. You will have to BELIEVE in the word of God to turn the sibling rivalry around for your good. You deserve the peace. Give it to yourself.
With this victory you will be guided in raising your children to live Godly lives. Love will reign in your parenting. Your children will be guided by you and bound by the love of God. They will see the strength in you that they too will need in life.
Our children watch and see all that we do and say. What we do matters most. Our actions will be the memories in our children’s minds. You will hear them say …” my mom did it this way”. You will never hear them say “my mom said to do it this way.” Your children are influenced by what they see more than what they hear. Be what you are wanting your children to be. They are worth the best example that you can give. Christ is our example. He showed us how to live good peaceful and joyful lives.
Give your children the picture of Christ. Live that life, as hard as that can be…live the life of turning the other cheek and doing unto others…and loving your enemies, including the brother or sister who has hurt you.
This adult sibling rivalry can be a thorn in your marriage, in other relationships and friendships. In some ways it can be crippling to you. Stealing your joy.
If others do not receive you, and do not accept your olive branch…Matthew 10:14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. “
Forgiveness is your exodus !
Love is for you. Forgiving is for you. To love others is for you.
The joy of the Lord is for you….See God in all that you do.
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mrs. Lemmie Johnson
Marriage Counselor, USA