Have you ever read a book that you can totally relates to your life? Come across characters that make you smile because they remind you of family members? Fallen in love with a fictional family that could be your own? I have in The Berenstein Bears and the Biggest Brag.
While my husband and I don’t live in a tree with our two bear cubs, I can see many similarities between my little ones and Brother and Sister Bear.
I have three kids. They vary in age, gender, and personality, but in one way they are the same. They each want to be first. I can count on my children to bicker over who will go first to get in the shower, share what their day was like at dinner, or hug daddy when he comes home from work.
They are also fiercely competitive. They always want to win, be the best, and to be recognized above the others. It may be perfectly appropriate for their age and development, but these squabbles can wear on this mamma and ruin a perfectly good afternoon.
In The Berenstein Bears and the Biggest Brag, the cubs find themselves arguing over who saw the coolest cloud formations in the sky. Gramps steps in and reminds them what the Bible says pride and thinking about themselves before others.
I have been known to give my kids the same pep talk when things get bumpy, but I also found a few other things that keep the bickering at bay.
Designate days of the week for each child to have preference. When only two of my children were squabbling over who went first, I appointed the even days on the calendar to my oldest and the odd days to her younger sister. With three to consider, I created a rotation, based on days of the week, for first choice of chores, seating in restaurants, homework help, etc.
Attend each other’s games, sports practices, and concerts together. Any time our children have an event or activity that warrants support you can bet their siblings will be there. They may be old enough to stay home on their own or go to a friend’s house instead but they don’t.
We encourage our kids to be there for one another and celebrate the gifts and talents God has given each of them by being present and cheering each other on.
Intentionally spend time with each child individually. Once a month I take each of my kids out to lunch. They get to choose of where to go, what we eat, and what we do. Sometimes we go to their favorite restaurant, pack a lunch and go to the park, or head home for a sandwich and toss the ball around in the backyard. They can count on that time each month, which means there is a little less fighting over my attention on other days.
Acknowledge our children’s accomplishments. My husband and I have been having weekly “family business” meetings for a while but have just recently invited our kids to be a part of it. Not only do we look ahead to the upcoming week to organize our comings and goings but also, together, we look back over the previous week and acknowledge what each of us has accomplished.
It’s okay to own who God created us to be but it’s not okay to brag about it and constantly seek to be the center of attention because of it.
Resisting pride will be a life long challenge for our little ones but maybe with the help of Grizzly Gramps and the Word of God we can set our children on the path to being humble.
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How do you help your kids through sibling struggles? Come join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!