Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sibling Rivalry and the Ultimate Parent

An Answer to the Question, “Why Didn’t God Give the Terrorists Massive Coronaries Before They Hit the Twin Towers?” - Matthew Albie, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Disclaimer:  I have done research online on many, many sites, gleaning the basic ideas for this particular post.  Needless to say there are numerous articles out there regarding parenting and sibling rivalry.  I’ve done my best to take the similar information from these articles and put them together to, I hope, best demonstrate what is being said and how it relates to my point.  My resources have included:

  • Webmd.com
  • Psychologies.co.uk
  • Psychologytoday.com
  • Parenting.com
  • GlobalPost.com 

Sibling Rivalry

Older children have an intense need to measure up at home and get positive feedback from their parents. Often conflict arises because children feel they are competing with their siblings for this attention. Avoid comparing your children to each other.

If there is an issue going on between the siblings in your house, don't be discouraged. Dealing with this conflict often serves as a useful training exercise in which siblings gain experience in overcoming problems.

Like much of parenting, responding to sibling rivalry involves walking a fine line. Often parents allow siblings to work out problems on their own and not play favorites.

Teach your children negotiation and compromise then let your kids resolve their own issues.

Rivalry continues into adulthood and can become a bitter conflict.  Even when parents do their best at loving and respecting all of their children, the influence of siblings on one another can be enormous.

It’s important to accept that siblings will fight.  By allowing them to experience their emotions, a parent allows the child to develop a sense of responsibility. This is the foundation of emotional health.

To get to this point, all sides  have to want to make peace, and they also have to want it at the same time. If a dialogue is begun when one person isn’t ready you guarantee that any reconciliation will be artificial and create a bigger breach between those involved.   It’s hard to find just the right amount of space to put between brothers and sisters.

Sibling relationships are deeply ambivalent by nature, and they are fueled by both love and hate. Recognizing and accepting this is a sign of maturity. It allows us to create distance and to find a way of living in peace.  

"Our Father Who Art in Heaven" - The Ultimate Parent

1 John 3: 1-2

1 See what love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.   2 Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 

1 John 3: 18

18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Luke 11:2

2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name…

Matthew 6:9

9 "Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 

The following text in italics is directly from an article in Everydaylife.globalpost.com by Eliza Martinez about parents of adult siblings that still have a rivalry between them.

For Parents 

Step 1

Avoid comparisons among your adult children... children always want to please their parents, no matter their ages. Don't compare your kids' jobs, children, spouses, financial situations or homes.

Step 2

Talk to your kids... Help your children come up with solutions for their rivalry that can help avoid fights and conflict. Maybe they'll agree to disagree, decide to make certain topics of conversation off limits and agree to walk away from when things get heated so they can calm down.

Despite what many people want to believe, God is still speaking to us.  We may just not want to hear what’s being said or are not mature enough to understand.   If you are  a parent yourself, you may have an idea of how frustrating this is.

Step 3

Stay out of the sibling rivalry. Clearly tell your children that you won't take sides and don't want to be part of their fights and disagreements. This doesn't mean you can't offer advice and a listening ear when your kids need you, but if they know that's as far as it goes, eventually they won't even come to you with their disputes.

Step 4

Encourage your kids to see each other's points of view. You raised them, but that doesn't mean they think, react or feel things the same way. They each bring their own baggage and personality to the sibling relationships and helping each see their siblings' sides can help your kids understand each other.

Step 5

Seek help. If all else fails, help your kids find a neutral person to assist them in working through their issues. A family therapist is an ideal choice because she can work through emotions with siblings and work with them to come to a resolution to the issues they face. This can help your kids create and maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship throughout adulthood.

For Siblings

Step 1

Avoid trying to change your siblings. Despite a similar upbringing, you each have your own personalities, likes and dislikes, so it goes to follow that you aren't the same person. Instead, accept your differences and embrace that they make your relationships unique.

Step 2

Don't compete with each other. This doesn't mean that you won't get jealous of your siblings' successes, particularly if those successes are something that you'd like to have as well. The trick to is to keep that to yourself and congratulate your siblings on their new jobs, marriages, babies or big raises instead of trying to one up them with your brand new car or bigger house.

Step 3

Talk to your siblings. Arrange times when you can sit down together without outside distraction and hash out the problems in your relationships. Work together to come up with solutions. This might even mean taking turns going to family functions where emotions run high and conflict occurs.

Step 4

Spend time together in neutral locations. Perhaps you could meet for coffee once a week or have dinner at a restaurant once a month. This lets you create shared experiences away from the life events that cause conflict -- at the same time, being in public can help prevent you from coming to blows.

We have probably all asked our parents Why? before, and not gotten an answer we were satisfied with. 

God is the Ultimate parent.  There is no better.

God provides.  

We have the ability to learn, invent, discover, be curious, and explore.  With all of these skills that God has provided us, we can do anything if we put our minds to it, from growing our own crops to use for clothing and food, to curing deadly diseases.  We can even learn to build transportation that will allow us to explore more of God’s great creation outside of the planet God put us on.  God has provided us with what we need to survive.  It’s our responsibility to use those gifts to help each other.

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