If you have a sibling or children of your own, you know all about sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry is as old as Cain and Abel.
It starts young and continues to grow until it's dealt with—if it ever is. I wonder how many spats Cain had with Abel in their younger years, how many rolls in the dirt vying for control. Did Adam and Eve just laugh and say, "Boys will be boys"? How many weeks, months, or even years did Cain spend silently seething before he snapped and decided Abel's more perfect offering to God was the last straw?
With two sisters and one brother, I've experienced my share of sibling rivalry. Now that we're adults the rivalry is virtually nonexistent. Occasionally it will threaten to rear its ugly head, but we won't allow it. We've come to see the value of family. Thankfully, our parents never excused our behavior with "kids will be kids."
Now that I have four kids of my own, I know I can't take sibling rivalry lightly. Left unchecked, it can have detrimental effects on the whole family, even for future generations.
The following six biblical principles are time-tested ways we can train our children to conquer sibling rivalry:
"Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12). What does honoring your parents have to do with sibling rivalry? Everything. It is honoring to parents when children recognize the value of their siblings and strive to have good relationships with them.1