0:00:00 – Speaker 1
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0:00:10 – Speaker 2
Welcome to nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM630, the Word. Mandy is the author of Talk and Kim is the director of nextTalk, a non-profit organization helping parents’ cyberparent through open communication. Follow us on Facebook, instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and subscribe to our weekly podcast at nextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
0:00:36 – Speaker 3
Today we’re talking about sibling relationships. I mean, I got an older girl and a younger boy and they know how to fight. They know how to fight.
0:00:47 – Speaker 1
Coming from being raised as a single child, i was like what is happening? My family’s falling apart?
0:00:55 – Speaker 3
I’m like. Everybody needs to be kumbaya and love each other. What is going on here? I had no idea.
0:00:59 – Speaker 1
This whole sibling rivalry and the whole relationship thing.
0:01:02 – Speaker 3
And it’s hard to parent it if you’ve never been a sibling Like. I had half brothers and half sisters, but they didn’t live with me Exactly. It’s a whole different dynamic And my husband is an only child, so we are like blind. We have no idea what we’re doing here in this situation?
0:01:17 – Speaker 1
My husband is much younger from his older sisters, so he was treated like the baby and it wasn’t so much like siblings, it’s like he had three moms. So even he is like what is all this? Why are they fighting all the time It’s a thing.
0:01:30 – Speaker 3
It is a real thing And we see this in the Bible. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy. That is the first murder.
0:01:39 – Speaker 1
I know Jacob and Esau. They were at odds from the time they were born, Even in the womb, And then they were born all the way through adulthood And Genesis 25. It is all throughout the Bible. Joseph’s brother sold him into slavery. I mean sold him into slavery.
0:01:53 – Speaker 3
That’s some serious sibling rivalry. Yeah, that’s in Genesis 37. You can go check that out. But that is a major problem in the family breakdown right there. Yes, and you know, even Martha and Mary’s story contains a disagreement between the sisters. We see them at odds. They are very different people with different personalities and how they respond to things differently. That’s in Luke 10, 38 to 42. So we see this in scripture.
0:02:15 – Speaker 1
We see this in our home That makes me feel better, like I’m thinking if it happened in scripture it’s okay if it’s happening in my home.
0:02:21 – Speaker 3
Well that’s not necessarily true, cam, though, because it’s not at all. I’m just trying to make myself feel better. You know, the multiple wives thing happened in scripture too, and it was a lot of dysfunction that needed to be fixed. You’re so right. No, i do not feel good anymore. Oftentimes we see things in scripture that’s it’s not. I mean it’s okay, it means it’s dysfunction that we need to draw our attention to that.
0:02:41 – Speaker 1
we need to fix It’s shedding light on the fact that these things happen and what do we do with them. And God usually provides scripture for this solution, which is really cool, right, and we’re going to share some of those with you a little bit later. But I got to tell you, in my own family I have three kids And, again coming from an only child upbringing, i had half brothers and half sister, and even when I visited them, which was once a year for maybe a week or two, it’s a different it’s a different dynamic, but we still argued And so, but I thought it was because we didn’t live together, you know, and just trying to figure that out.
But now under my own house, I am amazed at how my children know exactly what button to push to drive their sibling crazy. Yeah, they know, And not only do they know, they push it over and over again. Yes, it’s crazy.
0:03:29 – Speaker 3
Well, and they know often how we’re going to respond to it. They know Our kids know how we’re going to respond to the situation And oftentimes we kind of need to see how we’re responding because it may not be the best. No, i’ve kind of fell into that category.
0:03:46 – Speaker 1
Well, i think we’re not always prepared for it And that’s why we don’t always respond well, especially, you know, if you didn’t come from a household of kids, a bunch of kids. you’re not prepared for this arguing. You’re not sure, like when do I step in? Do I let them work this out? Should I speak into it Or should I just shut it down? And so I think there’s a lot of self talk like what, at what point do we step in and how do we prepare for this whole dynamic of these three different personalities living under the same roof?
0:04:15 – Speaker 3
Right, right, you know we were talking about the biblical characters and that whole thing, and when we were talking about it, i started thinking about Jesus and his half brothers. You know, because James, you know, in the book of James that is Jesus’s half brother, and I’m studying James right now with my husband. Yes, it’s so funny because there was this whole segment in James about favoritism and about not playing favorites, right, and it’s so ironic that that is coming from James, because I feel like James could stand up and be like my brother is Jesus, like y’all treat me nice, but it’s all. But his book is all about becoming the least of these, you know, like serving others, yes, And it just kind of. Here we have this sibling and I know it was a different thing because they were half brothers And I mean, can you imagine your half brother like the father being God, like that’s?
0:05:13 – Speaker 1
a little. Can you even imagine?
0:05:15 – Speaker 3
No, like I will never be good enough, like I would be writing a book about how awful I am and how my brother is awesome and how you know all of that stuff. But James doesn’t. He writes about becoming the least of these to serve people And I can only imagine it’s because Jesus handled the sibling relationship right. You know, he wasn’t like I’m in charge here, like y’all are doing what I say. He was a servant first And James learned from that and modeled the behavior of his brother, of his older brother. So I think we should really take I think it’s a good teachable moment in scripture Absolutely.
0:05:51 – Speaker 1
It’s a beautiful example of how we can teach our kids to practice kindness and servanthood to each other And in doing that, the relationship will be different because of the way that they are treating each other. If they’re practicing that, continue looking for ways to love and serve this person under their own roof, then hopefully that bridges that gap between their differences. So what causes?
0:06:15 – Speaker 3
all these differences, lots of different things, right, the personality personalities for sure.
0:06:20 – Speaker 1
Have you ever read a book on birth order? I thought it was a lot of hoopla. But, man, when you read a book about birth order, there’s a million of them out there.
0:06:26 – Speaker 3
It’s fascinating. I can tell you right now I haven’t. I haven’t read those books, but I can tell you in my own home most of the arguments that happen are you are from my daughter. Most of her arguments that she presents to me is you are treating him differently because he’s the baby. That’s been hard for me to hear, i’m sure, but I think she’s right. I think I baby him a little bit and I caudal him a little bit, and he’s my one that never cries. So if he starts crying I’m like what is wrong? And she’s looking at me like are you serious right now? Like are you serious? Like I just tapped him and he’s like on the floor crying like that And so I could see birth order.
0:07:06 – Speaker 1
I’m telling you I have an issue. Almost everybody that I know that their firstborn naturally tends to be more of a leader. A lot of times they are mothering, or they’re more independent, or they’re like my son. I hear my voice in him all the time and it just knocks me to the ground. I’m like, oh my goodness, Because that’s what I sound like father.
The other two, and he’s like that was a bad decision. Do you see why that was a bad decision? And I’m like, oh my goodness, you are only nine years old and you are an old man, so he definitely takes on that role as the leader, the firstborn, the responsible one. You know all of those things, and the hard part about birth order is a lot of times we parent into that birth order. So we see, oh, they’re a natural leader, they are the responsible one, and so Or like the oldest one baby sets the younger one.
0:07:50 – Speaker 3
I mean, that’s what happens.
0:07:51 – Speaker 1
Yes, And so we give them greater responsibility and expect more from them, simply because those are traits that they come by naturally or have displayed, and sometimes that makes it really hard on them, because that we ask them to be more than they’re ready for.
0:08:05 – Speaker 3
Well, i know, you know, when my daughter baby sets my son, it’s almost like we have to have a transitional talk, like you’re not the sister anymore, you’re the baby setter, so you have to respect her authority and you know this whole thing. But then when I come home it’s like okay, you’re not the babysitter anymore, you’re the sister. But it’s almost like we have trouble jumping from those transitions and we have to kind of recognize it.
0:08:28 – Speaker 1
Well, and the reason we’re talking about why a lot of this happens is because a lot of times our kids, whether we like it or not, are taking cues from us. They are treating each other in the way that we treat them. So they are saying, let’s say, in my household, my middle son I would say that my youngest and my oldest would say he gets away with a lot more. He’s like in the middle And that’s typically what they say about middle children And they get away with a lot more. They’re the entertainers.
0:08:53 – Speaker 3
Oh, that’s so true for your middle child, it’s so true That is him.
0:08:57 – Speaker 1
He’s the entertainer, for sure, he’s the entertainer, and he probably does get away with a little more because he’s hilarious.
0:09:02 – Speaker 3
He is When he does something, and you don’t wanna laugh and we’re all cracking up inside. It’s so bad.
0:09:07 – Speaker 1
It’s really bad, because when my other two do something it’s like naughty and it’s not funny, but when my middle son misbehaves, so consequently that causes dissension between my kids Because he’s getting away with a little bit He’s getting away with it. And so I am part of that sibling rivalry because of the way that I’m treating them. So birth order, special treatment, like you treat the baby differently.
0:09:31 – Speaker 3
Well, and, like you said, even just not a middle kid. But if you have a kid that is just hysterically funny and you’re always laughing at them instead of disciplining them, then the other sibling may think, oh, they’re getting away with stuff When it’s not really the case, but you’re just laughing. How’s the problem between those two? Exactly, it’s so crazy, i mean.
0:09:47 – Speaker 1
And then there’s other things you have to take into account too. Are they acting out towards each other because of other extenuating circumstances like divorce, role changes in your family, special needs kid in the family who maybe just on a practical level needs some more attention during a certain season? All of that can really play into your kids behavior to each other.
0:10:07 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and, as you know, just a simple thing you know, maybe mom is at home or dad is at home and then we go to two income family, two worker family And that whole creates a whole new dialogue, because then you’re relying on your kids to do more at home And then that creates some tension there. So all of it, little things, like you said, little role things that we need to be careful about.
0:10:30 – Speaker 1
I also remember having friends that had siblings, and what happened at school also played into their rivalry, because they were different kids And so they played different roles in school. They were involved in different things and had different friend groups, and sometimes those friend groups did not get along, and so that created.
You know them being at odds at home, yeah, and so that’s something to think about. I know in our own house something we have started to have to parent a little bit more because we’re home and together, more than most families, because we homeschool most of the time. I’ve realized my kids need to have different relationships and separate space, whereas that’s more provided when they’re at school. Every day, all day, they’re in separate classrooms. They have different friend groups. We’re together, we learn together, we eat together, we play together Birthday parties with homeschoolers. A lot of times It’s all your family, it’s not just that kid.
0:11:19 – Speaker 3
0:11:20 – Speaker 1
And so I’m starting to realize they need some space, they need their own identity, and that was causing a lot of sibling rivalry because they were just flat out tired of each other. And so there’s all these outside extenuating circumstances that you have to consider. Maybe they need. You need to look at the other things in your life that could be contributing to it.
0:11:39 – Speaker 3
I think too is when you have one kid that may excel at something and the other kid wants to do that but they’re just not as good. That’s really tough to parent because you wanna brag and support and love on the kid who is excelling. But you have to be really be careful about the kid who maybe that’s not their thing but they want it to be their thing. They wanna follow in the big brother or sister’s footsteps but they don’t have the ability or it’s just not the God given talent that the older one has. That’s a tricky, tricky subject as well.
0:12:11 – Speaker 1
And another similar subject is something that I recently spoke with a couple about They were really struggling with because each parent identified with their kids in different ways. So the husband was really connected and drawn to one of their two boys because they both share the same likes And so it was easy for him to spend time with them and connect with them and they always wanted to be together and he really struggled to relate to their other son And that caused dissension between the two boys, jealousy, lots of jealousy And they fight constantly because they’re jealous over this relationship with the dad And he’s like well, I just don’t really get along with my other son, We don’t have any similar likes And so there is a lot to consider.
We wanna just say, oh, they’re just kids.
0:12:57 – Speaker 3
They’re just kids, being kids and fighting.
0:12:59 – Speaker 1
Sibling rivalry. it’s a thing, But if you step back and really look at your lifestyle, your parenting, their birth order, their schooling, there’s so much to consider that might be contributing to sibling rivalry.
0:13:14 – Speaker 3
And this is I can’t help but think we always say know each kid, cause they’re all so different. It kind of goes back to that, like they each have a different talk time, they each have a different way they open up and you’ve gotta know each one of them. And this really plays into this Cause you’ve gotta know each one of your kids, know their personality, know the things that they may struggle with Like I may be jealous of my brother because of this. You’ve gotta know each kid and what they’re dealing with, to kind of help parent this.
0:13:43 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. I think we can even kind of fast forward to the way that we’re parenting right now in this digital age. Technology plays into this also. Think about all the things that we talk about with friends and with classmates and with what kids are dealing with and seeing online. They can see a lot of things online that would trigger things in their own household. You know, their brother got invited to this party and they didn’t get invited or things that are happening Right now. it’s mad.
0:14:09 – Speaker 3
And if there are twins or they’re close proximity and age where they do have something of the same, this is a thing.
0:14:17 – Speaker 1
Well, and like you said about excelling, maybe one kid is constantly excelling at something and the mom is posting about it And it’s on the school website and dad is saying I’m so proud of this kid and there’s nothing about the other kid. They’re seeing all of that. So now the feelings that were already there are amplified, not just for them but for their friends and their friends’ families to see.
0:14:37 – Speaker 3
If you’re just not tuning in, this is nextTalk Radio at 2pm on AM 6.30. The word nextTalk Radio is listener supported. Everything we do at our non-profit to keep kids safe online is accomplished through your donations To support our organization. Go tonextTalk.org and click on give. So we’re talking about, yeah, sibling relationships, and I love the point that you just made, kim, about even the technology and the bragging posts and how that can hurt the relationship as well, because it’s like an in your face type thing again That you’re not as good at basketball as your brother is or whatever, and we have to take that into consideration Absolutely.
0:15:18 – Speaker 1
You know, i think it’s hard to start this conversation with your kids sometimes because we don’t know what’s going on and we don’t know what’s normal quote unquote normal. But I think, sitting down with yourself, taking a minute to just really think about what, a few things about yourself, and then maybe also with your spouse, what behaviors am I seeing? first, i think if you really start that conversation, you can kind of identify well, this is just normal stuff that kids do and brothers and sisters. But this is a little bit beyond that. This is bothering me. This is not quote unquote normal or I’m uncomfortable with this behavior. I think that’s a good start.
0:15:52 – Speaker 3
Well, we always say it starts with us looking in the mirror. And you know, i go back to what I said in the opening about my kids. You know, one of the things my daughter always says to me is you’re too lenient on him because he’s the baby. And I really had to think about that because I blew it off for a long time, thinking well, that’s just an older kid excuse. But my husband actually him and I sat down and he’s like I think there’s some validity here because I see that you make excuses for him or you, whatever And I had to look at that and kind of look in the mirror.
And now, when a situation happens, like I will say to my son I need you to leave because I need to talk to her first And I get her side of the story, so because she can be heard. Now, nine times out of 10, there’s something she did that kind of pushed a button And I have to. We have to go back to that. But a lot of times too, my son has learned to make it more about him and drama because he gets the attention.
0:16:50 – Speaker 1
They love to sensationalize it.
0:16:51 – Speaker 3
So you know, when I go to him, there’s stuff I have to point out like, okay, she shouldn’t have done this. But do you really need to be on the floor crying like you’ve lost a leg, like that’s not, you didn’t lose. You know, you’re fine, you’re fine And you know they will laugh and look at me. But I had to really look at them here And say I think I’m contributing to this.
0:17:11 – Speaker 1
We had a similar conversation. My husband one day said I feel like you are parenting our second child differently And I was like what.
0:17:22 – Speaker 3
Crazy wife mode, crazy wife mode.
0:17:25 – Speaker 1
And I had to take a minute because I really wanted to get defensive And I was like, what do you mean? And so we were able to talk about it over a course of time And he was right. He was right. I was much more lenient on my second child than I am on my daughter, which is interesting. And when I really just started doing some self evaluation, i realized I was raised by a mom and I am a woman And I feel like this is how ladies should act, this is what girls should do, and I have higher standards for girls than boys.
0:17:55 – Speaker 2
I was never.
0:17:56 – Speaker 1
That’s so interesting, isn’t that interesting? And so I’m like much, i was being much harder on my daughter than my son both my sons but my middle son is the one who’s more challenging with a day to day kind of stuff And I was letting him go because he’s funny and he’s like a little boy And I just, you know, and I was like no sister.
0:18:15 – Speaker 3
And he’s like a jokester. He’s like a joker.
0:18:18 – Speaker 1
Yes, and he’s super dramatic and all of those things, and so he was getting away with more and I wasn’t punishing him in the way that I should, and he was starting to really react or overreact.
0:18:27 – Speaker 3
But you guys have the kind of relationship in your marriage Yeah, you’ve worked on it now to where you can say hard stuff to each other like that. And I automatically went to the Proverbs verse of iron sharpens iron You know, it’s so a friend.
so a friend sharpens a friend, but he is sharpening you. He didn’t tell you that to hurt you, to shame you, to guilt you. He shared that with you because he wants you to be a better mom and he wants to sharpen you into the best mom you can be for all three of your kids and for your family dynamic to be better. And I think that is so important That our you know if our spouses, our spouse, does see something in us that they need to say, we got to be okay, listening to that.
0:19:13 – Speaker 1
And I think that if you can create that safe place, it’s okay to be able to be honest about how it makes you feel, because I was like that makes me feel really bad, like I’m a bad mom, and there were tears. Like I was able to express all of that and it was a safe place, and then I was like okay, like what do we need to do? Like how do we move forward? And he holds me accountable and I hold him accountable because, you know, it’s one of those things like it’s hard work, but we got to work on it together in order to be our best.
0:19:39 – Speaker 3
I think that’s key though being able to recognize it in yourself and being able to have the really tough conversations with our spouse, Because sometimes they can see stuff in us that we can’t see.
0:19:48 – Speaker 1
It’s so true. They walk in and they can see the whole picture. Yeah, you’re stuck in the middle of. Yeah, so look at, sit down with your spouse. Do some self-talk then with your spouse. What behaviors are we seeing? Could I be creating this situation inadvertently? What’s our environment? And I’m modeling the behaviors that I want to see. You know, am I treating my spouse? Am I treating my kids in a way that I want them to treat each other? It’s so important to be able to recognize all of that and talk through it. Be honest with your kids, give examples, apologize if needed and set up some new standards. I was, you know. It was hard after having that conversation with my spouse, but I realized my treatment of my middle son was affecting my kids’ relationships with each other.
0:20:31 – Speaker 3
Because they were all probably kind of jealous of him right, Absolutely.
0:20:33 – Speaker 1
And they were feeling like they were being mistreated.
0:20:37 – Speaker 3
Well, like if I did that I would have gotten sent to my room. but he can get away with it, he gets away with it.
0:20:41 – Speaker 1
And so my oldest son, specifically, i remember sitting down and it was very humbling, but I was apologizing to him and saying, look, i see this, that I’m doing this, and he was like, yeah, mom, like I told you, and I’m like, yeah, I’m so sorry. It took me a minute to realize that And daddy helped me And moving forward, like I want you to hold me accountable, not by like, mom, you’re doing this wrong, but let’s talk about this moving forward. Am I doing a better job? Are you feeling like treatment is more fair And so setting a new standard, being honest with your kids about those things, it’s helpful.
0:21:14 – Speaker 3
Well and I also just reminding them in these conversations I love you all the same. Like I may treat you differently and you know you’re apologizing for that and realizing but that doesn’t mean I love him more, or you know what I mean. Like it’s just a different personality that I’m dealing with And so just reassuring your kids, i love you the same. I have one girl and one boy, so this is real easy for me because I have a free foot girl and a favorite boy.
0:21:36 – Speaker 1
0:21:36 – Speaker 3
Oh, you are lucky, so that’s easy for me. I’m like who’s my favorite boy in the whole wide world? You know, like I can do that, but y’all with multiples can’t, like you can’t do that with your boys. I have to do it by birth order.
0:21:47 – Speaker 1
Who’s my favorite oldest child?
0:21:49 – Speaker 3
Yes, there you go.
0:21:50 – Speaker 1
Somehow it’s not as cool. There you go, You know I it’s so funny. And, preparing for this, I read this article and I got to tell you it made such an impact on my kids And people think, Oh, your kids are so young, Why would you share that? But I think it’s important to be honest with them in an age appropriate way, And so I read this story in psychology today And it suggests that more than a third of us have a distant relationship with our brothers or sisters as adults because of childhood rivalry that was never fully dissipated. That is so sad A third of brothers and sisters as young as they are.
My kids were really shocked when I told them this. We talked about how sad it would be and how we could change things if we started now, And that the things that we’re dealing with now could last just for a minute, but if it’s ongoing it could affect their whole lives. I was like how sad would it be if you never shared a Thanksgiving with your adult brother or sister, or that your kids never met each other? There’s lots of families like that And they were like no, mom, that is crazy. So I told them this story and they were like well, what can we do? We gotta fix this. Like they got on board with the idea of creating better relationships between the three of them.
0:23:00 – Speaker 3
Let’s work on this. Let’s work on this now. Amazing.
0:23:04 – Speaker 1
Isn’t that crazy?
0:23:05 – Speaker 3
I did not expect that reaction from little people, and what is amazing is you’re not just setting up all these rules for them. They’re part of the process. They’re seeing the problem and they don’t want to become that problem, so they’re being empowered to make changes today.
0:23:17 – Speaker 1
It’s amazing how they want to be a part of that process. I mean, and I gotta tell you, get ready. If you’re gonna do that, if you’re gonna ask them, do I treat you differently? Are there things that you feel are contributing to the way you and your brothers feel about each other? Be ready for that, because my kids were very honest and they were like oh yes, and here’s this and here’s that, and it stings, but it helps me to parent better, and isn’t that the end goal? I wanna be the best parent I can be for them.
0:23:43 – Speaker 3
Well, and there’s so many biblical applications here too that you can send them to scripture and look up. We’re almost out of time. But first, john 4, 7 and 8, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Teaching them kindness Ephesians 4, 32,. We need to show kindness to each other, treating those around us the way we want to be treated. That’s the golden rule, and we always tell our kids to do that with their friends. We need to tell them to do it with each other. Practice kindness. So many times we take out the worst of us on the people we love the most, and siblings included, so we really need to arm them, make them aware of that, and that’s not okay.
0:24:24 – Speaker 1
Another one. Paul said live at peace with everyone. Romans 12, 18,. Avoiding arguments and conflict and playing the role of peacemaker when disagreements come up with our family or siblings, like that speaks right into it.
0:24:36 – Speaker 3
Yeah, and I love what you said to me the other day too, like we’re all on the same team, so like the Elrics chill for the Elrics And we’re one unit And making them see that bigger picture. We’ve got your back, no matter what. Even if I’m mad at you right now And I feel mistreated, i’m gonna have your back.
0:24:52 – Speaker 1
Exactly, that has been something that we’ve done from day one And let me tell you, it is not easy When you have three kids all at different sports in different Christmas play in different, that this, whatever we are going to three different choir performances And we’re like everybody goes because the Elrics cheer for the Elrics. We want to create this sense of support, like you said.
0:25:11 – Speaker 3
So our talking points for today? One look at your kids. Consider their relationships. How are you contributing Maybe good or bad and pray for wisdom. Two, be honest with your kids. Talk about what you’re seeing and God’s hope for families, open up some new dialogue. And three, come up with some practical ways to encourage kindness, support and just being on each other’s team.
0:25:34 – Speaker 2
Thanks for joining us on nextTalk Radio with Mandy and Kim on AM630, The Word. You are not alone, trying to figure out how to parent in this digital world. We are here with practical solutions to help you. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Find our free video series and podcast atnextTalk.org. Are you ready for the nextTalk?
Transcribed by https://podium.page