I grew up with two younger brothers, so I know firsthand about living with annoying creatures … who were also funny and creative and (occasionally) tender-hearted. So, when my three kids alternate between getting along and waging war, I understand.

I’m reminded of two stories about siblings. In the first, a girl tells a stranger that “He’s my bother.” (Not brother. Bother.) In the second, Father Flanagan (the founder of Boys Town) saw a line drawing of a boy carrying another boy on his back with the caption, “He ain’t heavy, Father … He’s m’ brother!” Implying that carrying each other is more of a privilege than a burden.

As a Mom, I’m trying to teach my kids to see their good traits. To support each other on the tough days. To endure the inevitable irritations and develop patience. To handle conflict constructively. To use the daily altercations as opportunities for character growth. To learn to love unconditionally.

Hmm. As a matter of fact, I’m still learning those lessons as I deal with the people I meet every day. So, as I teach my children how to get along, I’m actually preparing them for life in the real world. That shifts the problem of sibling rivalry from an annoyance to an opportunity … and gives me added incentive to do the work as a parent.

Even if it’s the 15th time today!

They’re not heavy. They’re my kids.

What about you? Do you have brothers or sisters? What was your relationship like growing up? What about now? What did you learn about how to get along with people?

Sibling Spats or Support
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