Sibling Comradery

Are you about to go nuts listening to sibling squabbles?  Why not turn that sibling squabble into sibling comradery?   Sometimes our kids are irritated with one another because they are stuck hanging out with each other day after day.  But sometimes the squabble is to get Mom and Dad’s attention.

When you give them attention for this behavior, it reproduces more misbehavior.   After all, they got your valuable attention, didn’t they?  It is time to turn the tables.  Try this different take on the marble jar to help kids learn how to cooperate with one another.

Set up a jar in the middle of the table or counter.  Show your kids a package of shiny marbles you have put aside.  Explain to them whenever you “catch them” getting along, they each get to put a marble in the jar.  Discuss together what they can earn when they have filled the marble jar to the brim.  Try these tips for success:

Catch siblings getting along

They aren’t allowed to tell you.    You get to observe the peaceful cooperation and draw positive attention to it.

Tell your kids something like this, “Wow, look at the way you are playing together”, or “Are you having fun together?”.

Try to make statements that cause them to get in touch with their own positive feelings about getting along.  When you say, “That makes me happy”, you are promoting the motivation to get along only to please you.

Direct them each to put a marble in the jar.

Celebrate the growing pile of marbles.                              

Make a plan

Discuss together what they would like to earn when the jar is full.

The plan should include an activity or item that is meant to be shared.

Younger kids may earn a fun afternoon at a favorite pizza place, Nerf guns or a board game they want to share.

Older kids may earn a special excursion during a family vacation, a manicure day with Mom, an adventure with Dad.

The same plan is a weak plan

Don’t  use the marble jar year round.  It will get old and ineffective.

Be strategic in your timing.  Set out the marble jar during long summers, vacations, or other times when sibling rivalry gets stirred up.

Use the teachable moments

Help your kids learn how to make good relationship choices for themselves.  They still need your guidance to develop these skills.

Take the time to reinforce their positive behavior.  Talk to them briefly about the benefits of getting along with one another.

Let them know how proud you are of their efforts.   When you “catch them” getting along, you are directing your attention to their sibling comradery, and the overall energy in your household has the potential to change.

Do you have an effective tool for promoting sibling comradery?  Please share it with us!

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Don’t Try to Force Growth-Stimulate It!


Parents, we can nag and remind our kids to death.  Because we desire and sometimes panic about our child’s spiritual and emotional growth, we may have the tendency to talk too much in hopes our words will change them.  Our kids in turn will get irritated and eventually turn us off.  So why not stimulate them to growth?  Stimulate ideas for godliness and greatness to come from within them-with your skilled guidance, of course!

This week’s idea:  Give your kids a dry erase marker.  Encourage them to come up with a personal goal for the week.  Then they get to write their goal across the bathroom or bedroom mirror.  What fun to have permission to write on the mirror! (It comes right off, by the way).  This means they get to see it every day, and be stimulated by their own words.

Helpful Hints to begin Stimulating Change

  • Have a casual conversation about your first goal making and how it has helped you.
  • In His youth, Jesus grew in all four areas of life: stature, knowledge, favor with God and man.  Your child can choose any of these areas to make a goal:  physical academic, spiritual, social.
  • Encourage your child to make the goal small and reachable for one week at a time.
  • Resist the desire to give them the goal!  Let them take full ownership of it.  They may need only vague ideas from you to get started.
  • Celebrate when the goal is reached,  then make a new one!

Here are some goals and personal successes my boys have enjoyed since we began stimulating their growth:  work out 3 times a week, become the best soccer player I can be, stop biting my nails, don’t watch television and computer for a week.  These have been great points of growth for our kids, and I am so thrilled to see some maturity happening from within.


hands in air

10 long fingernails bring personal success!

Can I tell you how huge it is that our 12 year old who has been biting his nails his entire life (I had not cut his nails since he was two!), is now growing his nails?  We have cut them a glorious 3 times since he decided to accomplish this on his own!!

soccer goal

Cade's personal goal paid off when he made goalie for his school

I look forward to hearing about the great strides your beloved children will make as they learn to take responsibility for their own growth and enrichment!  Please let me know how it is going…

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