Sibling Rivalry and Squabbles

Are the kids fighting all the time? Being cooped up in the house together can cause a few… shall we call them disagreements? Children fight for their place in the proverbial pecking order by continually cutting each other down and demonstrating their strength over one another. Be it physical, emotional or intellectual this childhood struggle is the source of the many scars we wear today as adults.

However, we are called to defy this natural tendency, to give comfort when we see a family member down. Nature may push us towards self-promotion and self-preservation but God calls us to do family different.

When our children struggle we correct them and then invite them to come near and find comfort and consolation. When it comes to siblings, we teach our children to come alongside and build each other up. Never do we celebrate their loss, nor puff up our pride at their fatigue or grief.

As parents we often find ourselves delivering justice and sorting through the mess of hurt feelings and broken pride. It is an opportunity to correct one while having the other say something to bring comfort or consolation.

We are shaping hearts here. Perhaps some reflective time is needed before true comfort can find its way through. Walk your son or daughter through their feelings. Appreciating and maintaining justice is good, but celebrating someone else’s set back is an issue of the heart that also needs shaping.

By asking the offended party to respond to the apology with comfort and grace, we are training our children to be full of compassion and restoration. We are also preventing shame and condemnation from creeping in. There is no shame or condemnation in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read 2 Corinthians1:3-4, Romans 8:1 and pray 2 Corinthians 2:6-8.

2 Corinthians 2:7-8

Jesus, teach our family to “turn to forgive and comfort” each other so that no one “may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” Let us always “reaffirm [our] love for him [or her].”

Teaching Compassion & Empathy

We have to teach our kids compassion. As I watched Gabe and Esther play tag in the yard, the game which was full of shrieks of laughter turned to shrieks of pain. Seeing Esther first I said, “What happened?” She looked at me, then back at Gabe — who was shrieking on the ground– shrugged and said, “He stepped on something I guess.” Then she casually went on ignoring his cries of pain happening only a few yards away from her.

Disturbed by her reaction, I ran and surveyed the scene. Gabe was on the ground holding his foot with a board (recently fallen off the play set) full of rusty screws on the ground under him. He had stepped on one of the screws and had a pretty bad puncture wound in his foot. Blood was pouring out of it as I carried him up the stairs. As I doctored him, I pondered the lack of interest in Esther. Wondering why she didn’t even check on him. I sent her to her room intending to speak with her about it later.

After Gabe had been thoroughly tended to with iodine, I turned my attention to the seemingly heartless daughter I had upstairs. I know Esther. She’s kind and thoughtful. She cares a lot about people, so her behavior struck me as odd. I didn’t want to attack her or make her feel guilty. I just needed to teach her what to do when someone gets hurt. How to act with compassion and empathy.

If it’s not fun for one, the game is done.

I began with a gentle reminder of a rule in our house: If it’s not fun for one, the game is done. If a joke is not funny for someone, the game is done. If someone gets hurt and isn’t having fun anymore, the game is done. If someone gets hurt you need to check on them. Ask if they need help. Go for help if they say yes. If they say no, then help them up. Try to find something that will make them feel better. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were hurt and couldn’t get up, what would you want? How would you feel? Look at their face and try to understand what they are feeling. Are they crying? Laughing? Sad? In pain? …all were questions and options we discussed.

It seemed to me that these were obvious social rules and obligations, but my four year old daughter didn’t know what her responsibility was. Today, as a parent, I realized the concrete concept that it has to be taught. We have to teach our children how to care for others. How to get help. When to stop the game. Especially if it is a family member.

I want her to act with compassion and empathy for everyone she meets, and develop an even stronger protective nature for members of her family. Because we are family, and that’s what we do. We care for each other. We look out for each other. Help. Defend. Protect.

It all has to be taught. As parents, we cannot assume our loving, tender child will know what to do a situation like that. I am very interested in what you have done to teach the children in your life empathy and compassion.

Pray for them

Psalms reminds us to, “Forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Wow! What a promise! Let’s pray for those in our lives who need a touch from God, whose unfailing  love and faithfulness is ever true.

Lord, I lift up (Name) to you and “I pray that all may go well with [Name] and that [he/she] may be in good health, as it goes well with [his/her] soul.” In your powerful name I pray, amen. 
3 John 2

Prayers taken from the daily prayer on the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.

Spiced Pumpkin Scones

  • 4 cups Flour
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cloves
  • 1 1/5 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups Cold Butter
  • 1/4 cup Cold Lard
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbs Molasses
  • 1/3 cup Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Vanilla

Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cream
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two large baking sheets with foil. In a large (and I mean LARGE) mixing bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Cut in cold butter and lard until you have small crumbles the size of peas. Set aside. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, molasses, cream, eggs and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and combine only until a soft dough forms (it will be sticky). Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until it is no longer sticky – about 5-8 times. Form dough into a rectangle and cut into 32 small triangles.

Transfer onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Once done, let them cool on a rack. Meanwhile, prepare glaze. Once scones are cooled completely, drizzle lightly the cinnamon glaze onto the pumpkin scones and let dry.

Note: If you are a glaze lover, double the glaze recipe and dip the scones into the glaze, covering the top completely.