Harvesting Positive mud monster relationships

Sometimes you just have to let them get dirty. photo 1

Really dirty.

photo 4

Even when they are wearing white.

photo 3

photo 2

I'm thankful for kids who find joy in just being together. Thankful for a life that is full of everyday blessings.

Encouraging positive relationships between siblings can sometimes be difficult, and I definitely don't have all the answers since I am currently navigating those rocky waters on a daily basis. This is an ongoing, laborious task and my kids fight all the time, just so you don't think we walk around singing Kum-ba-yah all day :). But here are some things that I try to do to help foster positive and growing relationships between my kids.

Encourage kind words. In fact, more than encourage. Kind words are not really an option around here. Even when we are angry, frustrated, fed-up, tired, hungry.... kind words are the way we speak to each other. If one of them is having a hard time finding kind words, they get a few minutes alone with mom for correction and suggestions.

Let them resolve conflicts. Little Dude takes a toy from Bear. I witness the act, but I wait. Bear knows what is required of him, to use kind words. Little Dude knows what is required of him, to share. If Bear runs to me to tattle, I direct him back to the person he has a problem with. If the Little Dude comes to me crying I remind him how to ask for something he wants. Sometimes the situation escalates and I have to get involved, but I imagine that will happen less and less as time goes on and they learn to love and respect each other more.

Let them play. Play around here can be loud. They will be deep in imagination, running break neck speed from one end of the house to the other. Laughing, squealing, delighting in each other, and all I can think is that I want some peace and quiet. Time for peace and quiet will come. Soon they will be grown and the house will be nothing but quiet. I try to cherish these loud days. Thankful for the life and the laughter.

Play can also be messy. Clutter has a way of being loud as well. It screams to the mom who desperately tries to keep the house nice. But just like the noise, the clutter will disappear one day, so try to be grateful for the blessings that cause the clutter. Is it more work? Yes. Did it undo all of the effort you just put in? Yes. Will you reap good things from letting your kids dump toys and spread out together? Yes.

Let them help each other. My kids have buddies. When Tiger was born, Monkey started helping the Little Dude get dressed, take baths, and eat breakfast. When Tiger arrived, it was Bears job to retrieve diapers, blankies, wipes, pacis, ... anything he could physically reach for the baby. Bear pours the cereal, Monkey pours the milk. Letting the kids help each other helps them to appreciate each other, and to feel appreciated.

Use scripture. God's word is living and active. It will help in times of sibling distress. Some of my favorite go to verses are:

Philippians 2:3 ....count others as more significant than yourself.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. {This one is good for when they are having a hard time sharing.}

Remind them of the gospel. Through all of this instruction, be sure to remind them of the gospel. They cannot love their siblings how God wants them to all the time. They have sin in their hearts and it comes out in their actions. That's why Jesus died, and that's why they need him. Failure is a great time encourage them to take hold of the blessings of repentance and forgiveness.