How to Help Your Children Become the Best of Friends
Before having children I had in my mind what our family would look like.
I always wanted 5 kids.
As an only child, I wanted my kids to have “built-in” friends to play with.
I dreamed about gatherings around the table and fun family vacations.
But truly, I was unfamiliar with the dynamics of a large family.
I didn’t think about different personalities or the possibility that my kids may not want to be friends with each other.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just like any other relationship, the friendship between siblings has to be nurtured.” quote=”Just like any other relationship, the friendship between siblings has to be nurtured.”]
This was much harder than I realized!
Each of our kids have different personalities; some are strong, while others are timid and quiet.
Some are competitive, while others are just happy to see everyone feel included.
These differences can put a damper on the relationships if we aren’t careful to nurture them.
3 Keys to Help Your Children Become Friends
Embrace the differences
No two children are alike, which is one reason parenting is so hard!!
What works for one, may not work for another.
It’s also the reason they may not always get along with each other.
Even as adults we can find it difficult to “tolerate” someone who is completely different than us.
How much harder it is for kids!
However, many times I have found that those who are opposite than me in personality are the very ones that God connects me with.
Because my weakness is usually their strengths.
This is one thing we consistently tell our children. Embrace each other’s differences.
God placed each person in our family for a reason.
They are much better together than apart.
They can help each other reach their highest potential if they can learn to appreciate each others differences.
Celebrate Each others Successes
I can’t tell you how many times my kids have complained about going to one another’s sporting events.
But they will be the first to tell you how awesome it is when their family is there to celebrate with them!
Recently my daughter auditioned for the pro team for dance.
Although this was her second year of auditions, she was still really nervous.
When she found out she made it she ran to her brothers to tell them the good news.
They celebrated her and told her how proud they were of her.
And it made her day.
She was smiling ear to ear.
Younger siblings crave affirmation from the older ones.
They want to know they are loved and approved of by them.
When they are given that attention, a bond begins to form and a mutual respect develops between them.
Pray for Each Other Regularly
I can’t express enough how powerful prayer has been in developing friendships among my children.
When we pray together as a family, we take turns praying for each others needs, dreams and hopes.
We even celebrate the praise reports together when prayer are answered!
This time of unity allows each of our children understand the heart of what’s going on inside their siblings.
There is an appreciation for the tough things they are going through and a joy when they see each other reaching for their dreams.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV
A few nights ago one of my daughter’s was suffering from bad allergies. She had a headache, a stuffy nose and just felt blah. Seeing that she was suffering, my second son got up in the middle of our prayer time and said, “Let’s lay hands on Olivia and pray for her.”
And we did.
A few hours later, she excitedly declared, “Mom, Philip prayed for me and I feel better!”
Was I excited that God heard the prayer of a 17 year old and answered it?
But I was ecstatic that my son’s actions produced a closeness in his relationship with my daughter.
I see God using his actions to knit a bond between them that isn’t easily broken.
I love watching my children connect as friends. My hope and prayer is that as they continue to grow, they will become life long friends. When they have families they will get together and their children will play. By cultivating friendships now, I believe that dream will come to pass.
How do you help your children become friends? I’d love to hear how you nurture the relationships between your children! Leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond!
Great post, Alisa. I tweeted and pinned it. I’m a mom of three, and it pertains perfectly to my situation. Blessings to you!
Hi alisa! I am struggling in this area right now. My oldest son who is six does not “like” his middle brother, and gives the little one all the attention. We are trying our best to incorporate friendship. Thank you for this post, it’s quite applicable for our family. (Shared to FB)
What a great article – we should embrace our differences. My husband and I would write down our children’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage the in their strengths and let them know we all have weaknesses they’re just different.
That’s so good, Char! It’s amazing how confident they become when we encourage them in their strengths!
What a heart-warming post! My kids seem to be at each other’s throats most day;) It was only my sister and me, so to have 5 kids, it’s been a huge learning experience! Love your tips, I’m going to give them a try!
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Mine still are like that some days, but overall I feel like it’s definitely getting better! It’s definitely been a learning curve for me!! I was an only child so I felt like I was in foreign territory!!
Great post! I have four sister and four kids so I know from LOTS of experience how hard it can be. Your tips and suggestions are key to building strong friendships with anyone…especially siblings!
Thanks, Charlie! I’m an only child so I had to learn the hard way with my 5! But the sweetness I’m starting to see has been worth all the long talks and time invested in nurturing their relationships!
Alisa – I loved this post and got some great ideas from it. Even though my children are grown adults, I think I can still apply the lessons. I plan to incorporate praying for each one we have family time and encouraging them to embrace their differences. I pinned it. Thank you!
Thank you, Maree Dee! Yes, what a great idea to incorporate with adult children. We have one adult child in our home and one nearing adulthood and this has been very good for them as well! Thank you for sharing!
This is something that I will definitely be coming back to. I have 3 boys and 1 unknown due in Jan, these are great tips to help make sure that they have the best start towards friendship. Sharing on my FB page!
Congrats on the new addition coming, Rebekah! Wow, 3 boys! I have 2 boys and 3 girls and trying to get them to all get along ha been quite the journey! I wish I would’ve started doing these things when they were little!! But I’m believing God is making up for whatever we lacked in those years! You’ll have a great start on nurturing those friendships. Thanks for sharing!
Great post! I think any time you have people living in close proximity you’ll have differences that scrape against each other, but when we value the gifts and strengths of others, then it can go a long way in smoothing over the natural tensions that happen. thanks!