(The video version of this post is at the bottom, if you would rather listen than read!)

Sibling relationships are really lifetime relationships. How in the world can we encourage our kids to bond?

After 26 years of parenting, we’ve had a pretty good chance to practice helping our kids bond.  After watching a video that I shared of our daughter’s reaction when our oldest son surprised us with a visit, I had several people ask about how to help their kids have a stronger sibling relationships.  That led into several related topics that I really want to talk about because I believe they are crucial to healthy, happy, cohesive family life!

I already covered why it’s important to nurture these relationships.  Today I want to talk about practical ways to do that!

I love asking our grown kids what THEIR perspective is on different topics and this time their answers were the same…across the board!

Guess what it was?  BEING IN A CONFINED SPACE WITH LIMITED ACCESS TO FRIENDS IS WHAT BONDED THEM TOGETHER THE MOST!

It’s really not as bad as it sounds, I promise.  We lived in a fairly small house during a season when the kids were doing a lot of growing up. They DID get together with other people, but MOST of the time they were working and playing alongside of EACH OTHER.

There are some important principles to remember as this is going on:

1.) Make sure that there is a general respect among your kids for each other’s strengths and a willingness to learn to bear with their weaknesses…to learn to show grace.  It’s important to delve into a little more of an understanding of different personalities, giftings, love languages, genders (yes, there is a difference), etc.  All of this will help our kids learn to work better as a team.  You really can just glean the basics, put those into practice and have it be enough without having to overwhelm yourself with information overload.

2.) Be a good steward of your kids’ time on computer, phone, ipad, television, etc. We live in a society that allows us to utilize these distractions and avoid conflict and discomfort in real life relationships.  Especially during these growing up years, our kids NEED to learn what healthy relationships look like and be willing to work through things with each other even it’s hard.  When we do that, we teach them that real life relationships are WORTH the effort!  Encourage them to spend time with each other by eliminating those distractions.

3.) Important for our kids to both work and play together.

a.) Steward wisely (put boundaries on) the time playing with other kids to make sure that your kids are spending time together.

b.) Have your kids work on projects together and alongside one another.  There are SO many life skill they learn just from this: personal responsibility (their actions affect the people around them), teamwork, patience, communication, conflict resolution and so much more!

The natural cycle is this:  As we encourage our kids to work and play together, nine times out of ten, there WILL BE BICKERING!  But guess what?  If you are willing to work through it with them and complete that cycle, your kids are going to become incredibly capable in the area of life skills!

In my next blog/video, I’ll be sharing ways to work through conflict within a biblical framework and what it looks like to be the Body of Christ to each other! Stay tuned!