Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lasting Unity Between Siblings?

The Question:

How have you fostered unity, love and respect between your kids? What can I do as a Mom to encourage this? Neither my husband nor I are close to our siblings and we both feel a void that we want to make sure our kids don't. Any insights would be so greatly appreciated! -Anonymous

The Answer:

I'm so impressed by your desire to change things in your own family--in terms of relationships among your children. You are really on the right track because you recognize that void and you have a strong desire to turn the tide in your own family.  Here are some of my thoughts:

It is important to understand that favoritism causes tension between your children.  As a mother, you have a responsibility to fully love and appreciate each one of your children. If you find yourself preferring one child above another...well, you just can't. This is a topic all its own, but just realize that if you favor children, your family will suffer. Do everything you can to know each child and appreciate their differences.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are certain lines that children should never be allowed to cross in their relationships. No physical or verbal attacks of any kind. Simply do not allow them. Don't assume that this type of fighting is inevitable.

A steady stream of family prayer and scripture study invites a type of light into your home that encourages positive relationships.

As you and your husband speak to eachother and to your children with love and respect, you will set a positive emotional climate for your home.
I was mulling this question over on the way to a soccer game yesterday so I threw it out there for my children. "Why are you growing up to be such good friends?" I asked. Silence. "What are things we do that make you love each other?" I tried. Finally Seth said, "Well, I think it's when we work together and study and go places and do things together, we all start to think alike." I think that's true. We develop a family humor, family standards, a "family" way of viewing the world that bonds us.

Finally, think of that very profound line in the Family Proclamation that says, "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Every so often, my husband and I choose a commandment and commit to "up" our observance of it. Whenever we do, we notice immediate rewards in our family--observing the Sabbath day, serving others, fasting.

Don't approach this problem with fear. Keep a clear vision of what you want and move forward with faith. With the Lord's help, you can create the family you want to have.


  1. Long time reader, first time commenter! I'll add my 2 cents to Janes answer as well by sharing something my mom ALWAYS said.

    "FAMILY FIRST!" This means if your little brother had a birthday party that night but you wanted to go to a friends house that was OUT OF THE QUESTION! If one of our siblings were in a play, playing a sport, or doing anything special... THE WHOLE FAMILY was there. Family First, friends ALWAYS came second. We supported one another and I'll be the first to say how AWESOME it was to be playing High School Soccer with my Mom, Dad, Sisters and Brothers all sitting on the sidelines. The other players on my team would frequently comment saying, I wish my family would come to my games!

    It's all about supporting one another in everything that we do, either as a family or in our separate activities.

  2. I agree with Mickie. I come from a family of 9 kids all raised by my mother due to divorce. While we all grew to be contributing members of society and even all served missions, we have so many problems feeling connected and close with each other. My husband's family grew up in a very close knit family always doing things as a family and supporting each other. There is a huge difference. I hope that I can teach my children while they are young how important it is to love, serve, and support one another so that the relationships can be enjoyed through out this life and desired in the next.

    Thanks Jane for sharing your experiences. I love things that help me feel empowered in my role and this blog definitely does..thank you!

  3. My husband and I just finished reading this post. Thank you so much! It lead to a wonderful discussion and brainstorming session. Also thank you to Mickie for her comment. That is a great idea!

  4. There are 9 kids in my family, and growing up NONE of us got along. Not to toot my own horn, but it took me making the decision as an adult that I wanted to get along with my siblings to turn that around. I would call one and ask if I could come over to hang out for a couple hours. Then I started calling for advice. Finally, after 7 years of working at it, we're all very close. I think this is an important part of it, because your kids need an example of how great it is to have your brothers and sisters as friends.

  5. One other thing to show the importance of a good relationship with your own siblings: My husband had 2 brothers. They both died before they were 25, so now he's alone in the world (except for me, obviously). Please remember that your family won't always be there, and no fight or disagreement is worth losing them without knowing them. Please try to make it work.


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