The Sister Team: Camaraderie, Competition, Cheerleading and Correction

Janelle

Hi, Sis! We’ve talked a lot about sibling relationships over the years. But you also know my kids don’t always get along as well as we did growing up.

Brittany

Right! I also know you’re training them how to love each other. How are things going with that?

Janelle

Well, just this morning, before we went on with our day, we had to apologize for unkind words. I’m sure we spoke unkindly to one another occasionally, but most of the time, we enjoyed being together. Do you remember the hours we spent in our “Barbie Land”?

Brittany

Yes! We enjoyed each other’s company and camaraderie! We had many opportunities to work through disagreements and we learned that you have the most fun when you are working and playing together.

Janelle

As the oldest, I often remember directing our play and you went along with what I said. I’m thankful Mom and Dad didn’t have the mentality of “the younger siblings can do whatever they want and the older ones can just deal with it.” We had to learn to work together. That was probably a good reason why we got along so well. What else do you think they taught us?

Brittany

They taught us to always say what we mean and mean what we say. We didn’t tease or tell little mistruths. They focused on honesty and because of that we always respected each other and each other’s things. I would have never dreamed of going in your neat room and reading your diary or rifling through your perfectly organized doo-dads! That would have been a HUGE breach of trust on the sister team!

Janelle

Very true. Teamwork makes the dream work! We learned a valuable lesson: never read another girl’s diary unless she shows it to you. HUGE TRUST BREACH. Speaking of teamwork, Mom and Dad taught us that we were always a team, first and foremost, even if we were competing with each other. That’s kinda a weird concept, isn’t it? From volleyball to horse shows, we were often competing, but we cheered for each other too!

Brittany

Yeah, we pushed each other to do our best. We practiced together. Mom did a great job of emphasizing, “Always do your best!” and focusing on the fun of doing the event together rather than the outcome. I think being each other’s cheerleader is ultra important!

Janelle

Yes! To me, some of your horse events were dreadfully boring, but I spent hours in the crow’s nest with my dog and a video camera capturing you riding your horse in the dressage competition! I was happy for you when you won and you were happy for me when I won. I loved cheering you on when you were doing something you enjoyed!

Brittany

Yep and I tried to be the loudest one in the stands when you won Grand Champion with your pig! It was like, “Yeah! That’s my sister!”

Janelle

We really were best friends! Do you remember our one big fight?

Brittany

I don’t even remember what it was about! But the scar I got on my pinky from the spoon you threw at me still hurts if I hit it on something! 😛

Janelle

Mom and Dad didn’t even have to discipline me for that! Remorse for hurting you was the only correction I needed! I felt sooo bad!

Brittany

Yes, Mom and Dad definitely did a good job of modeling loving interactions. They taught us that good sibling relationships are formed by working together and experiencing life together, but that sometimes correction is needed too.

Janelle

Definitely. To be honest, I’m in the thick of this with my kids… teaching them to love and respect each other and get along is a daily struggle. Some days, all I can do is cry out to God for wisdom. I know you do the same… how do you give correction to your kids when they mistreat each other?

Brittany

Well, I think it’s a personal decision, but what we’ve found is that the best way to correct mistreatment of a sibling is to prevent it in the first place!

Janelle

That’s genius. What do you mean by that?

Brittany

In our home, my husband and I have taken a very simple approach from the time our boys were small. Since the day our youngest was born, our older son has been a teammate to his younger brother. As they’ve gotten older, the caretaking now goes both ways. In the beginning, I had to tell them, “Go help your brother,” instead of just helping him myself, but that taught them they were a team.

Janelle

I remember your oldest referring to his brother as “our baby” when you were pregnant. I thought that was so sweet, yet it was also teaching him that his brother would be his too, and not just yours and your husband’s. Talk about camaraderie from birth! But what if your kids don’t always get along very well, like mine? Do you have any ideas?

Brittany

Well, sometimes a piece of the puzzle is correction. Again, we’ve taken a simple approach. In sibling conflict, it’s never only one of them that is at fault. Because, the very nature of conflict requires two participants! 😛

Janelle

Very true! You can’t argue with yourself! So do you correct both of them when there’s conflict?

Brittany

Yes, almost always. We’ve chosen not to play judge and jury, trying to establish who is at fault most, etc. That can get really complicated, really fast! 😛

Janelle

It sure can! What is your strategy?

Brittany

Our simple, go-to approach in resolving conflict is that they both receive discipline or “correction” fit to the offense. Then we encourage them to respect each other and follow up to be certain that happens. Whether it is obedience or listening to wise advice from their sibling. For example, “We’re supposed to be taking a nap, not playing”. After practicing this, the kids begin to appreciate the peace that comes from simply getting along! In fact, the whole family enjoys the peacefulness! 😉

Janelle

It is always a joy to be around your boys, so I know others appreciate it too! 🙂 Thanks for your thoughtful input. I’m thankful to be your sis. 😉 Love ya!

Brittany

And I’m sure thankful to be yours! Love ya tons! 🙂

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬
  • “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭
  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew‬ ‭5:9‬

Music to inspire you:

Readings and Resources to come alongside of you:

Related Posts on Texting The Truth:

Living Out the Truth

Ideas to try:

  • Host an awards ceremony for the whole family! Children can make “awards” for each other and parents too. We used to do this growing up and it taught us to notice goodness in one another.
  • Let siblings make a “coupon book” for each other. They can make coupons to help each other with chores or household duties, or just do something nice for each other.

{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more. In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}

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