I have four sisters and a brother, but from age 3 to 17, I was the only child in our home. So, I pretty much grew up as an only child! When it comes to dealing with the arguments that regularly arise between siblings, I often feel rather clueless! As with everything, I always try to lean on Biblical principles. When arguments arise, I sometimes try to get to the bottom of it, asking each child what his own part in the argument was. Discussion about how his words or actions showed love for God and love for people (or a lack of love!) follows. At times, the only thing that helps is separation. They’ve just had enough of each other and need some time alone. That usually leads to quiet time in the bed with books or drawing pads. Other times when it seems clear to me that both boys are out to do whatever makes themselves happy, they sit on the bottom step with their arms around each other until signs of restoration in the relationship become evident. For now, this usually happens pretty quickly and seems to be greatly effective! I also try to catch them as I hear an argument heating up, and remind them that the Bible pretty clearly stands against arguing.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing ; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,
2 Timothy 2:23-24
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
There is much more on this topic! OpenBible has a great page of verses about arguing, but back to the parenting of siblings arguments and what drove me to write this blog! The author of the Doorposts blog has put together some great principles for dealing with arguing siblings. She points back to reflecting the character of God in our parenting — something I definitely long to do. She also reminds of Solomon’s wisdom in dealing with quarrels. This has caused me to think that perhaps I should look more closely at how Moses, the judges, Solomon, and others handled the arguments that arose among the nation of Israel, instead of following my desire of dismissing the argument as often as possible!