A Future With God
by Pastor Michael
Have you ever heard that silence can be loud? It’s that very loud, very obvious absence of sound after your teenager has just had another argument with their sibling and stomped off in the other direction. Does it ever stop? Do they really love each other?
We will be discussing sibling rivalry and what you, as the parent, can do to foster relationship between your teen and their sibling(s).
World War III doesn’t seem that impossible when you experience it first hand. It has to start somewhere right. Well, I believe that these world changing wars begin in the back seats of minivans! And I don’t care what the ages are of the children who are sitting in the back of those minivans. Whether they are 2 or 18, they have a hard time sharing even the same air without some kind of skirmish resulting.
Why do siblings have such a hard time getting along let alone acting like they love each other? Even the very first siblings, Cain and Abel, obviously had very serious issues! Siblings will forever be competitive with one another. They compete for the best grades. They compete for athletic positions. But mostly, they feel they are competing for your attention. And their sibling stands in the way of that accomplishment in their mind.
Is one of your children more athletic than the other? Can one sing and the other can’t? Does one teen make better grades with less effort? Is one taller, shorter, wider, thinner? Yes, yes, yes to all of those! From the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep, our teens are made to feel that they must compete, to stand out. Have you seen the magazines, movies, and TV shows lately?
So where is the first place that our teens will feel the need to compare themselves? In the home. Why do they snap at their “annoying” little brother, but can have the patience of Job with his best friend. Why will they “absolutely not” allow their little sister to even touch their clothes, but will allow 10 of their friends to borrow anything they want?
One of the things that is imperative to teach our teen is to respect and love others–including their siblings! John 13:34 says, “…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We have to help them see their siblings as individuals and not as a thorn in their side! Respect must be shown in words, actions, and tones. Tone means far more than any spoken word! You can tell someone to stick it where the sun don’t shine or say “Yes, ma’am” and mean the very same thing just by the tone you use.
We also have to allow individuality in our teens. Each of our teenagers rarely has the same type of personality. Please let that be okay! Often we, as parents, feel that we have to treat them the same because it’s fair! It’s not fair to treat an introverted teen the same as you would an outgoing teen! If one is musical, delight in their music and quit trying to make them a football star. If one is athletic, cheer wholeheartedly at their games and quit signing them up for drama camp! We have to help our children be who God created them to be. When we respect and love them unconditionally, maybe they will respect and love their siblings unconditionally too!