Sibling Rivalry: Is this STILL a thing?

You always take her side!
Mom, he’s doing it again.
She always get her way!
Why does he always get to go first?
Remember when your kids were little and all you hoped for was ONE day without an attack of sibling rivalry?
The timing may have changed but not ALWAYS  the conflict…
Unlike training bras and training bikes, sibling rivalry may not be something your kids grow out of.
Several years ago one of my daughters ceased talking to the rest of the family. It started with me. One of the other girls let me know that this child felt abandoned by me.  True enough. She did FEEL that way. But the hurting child’s sister said it best, “You know, Mom, in this family you have to carry your own water. So I am not in it. You two work it out.” Within three months their relationship had disintegrated, also.
What is the CURE for sibling rivalry in adult children?
 In our daughter Rachelle‘s bathroom there is a plaque that MIGHT give us hope for overcoming sibling rivalry:
We have to preach (and unfortunately that is the only verb that will work at times) mercy… not justice to our children.
We cannot take up their offenses.
We must teach them how to go to each other in love. Forgive in LOVE. THINK OF THE BEST OF EACH OTHER IN LOVE.
 Recently a friend wept over two of her sons who were at odds with each other. After hearing the complaint that one young man made towards his older brother she had to ask him, “Is this going to be the thing that you allow to separate you and your brother forever?”
The brother shrugged, “Maybe.”
 “If you can live with that, it is your choice to make. You are an adult.”
Although she didn’t agree with this decision, it was not her call to make.
Few other times can our adult children break our hearts as easily as when they are angry with one another.
Our job is to forgive and MODEL how they can forgive, even when they are hurt as well.
My pastor preaches often concerning mercy and being merciful to others.
He reminds our congregation that the ground at the foot of the cross is all level.
Even though it is much easier to see someone else’s fault than our own, we must OFTEN humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. We must FREELY forgive.
My daughter that sent word to me that she was hurt and felt abandoned returned to the fold after a personal transformation in her own life.  Although we both had done equal shares in damaging that relationship I had to reach out FIRST. Our reunion was tearful, loving, cherished, a bit scary after seven years, and totally life-changing.
We SPEAK AND SHOUT AND ACT OUT forgiveness often as they are growing up … and since they are now adults we MIGHT feel that we are mumbling the same message.
The time for shouting and sermonizing is over. With adult children they need to see us suffer injustice with grace and mercy.

Author: Dr. Johnnie K. Seago

Johnnie Seago is a national conference speaker who is passionate about building leadership in families. As the mother to eight adult children, she desires families to learn to connect and communicate to build a community of support. She extends her leadership and team building experience to schools, businesses, and civic groups. Johnnie’s messages equip leaders to: Find their strength in the design God used to create them Find their purpose for which God created them Partner with others for support in reaching goals Commit to the dreams God has placed on their heart Become accountable for their success as leaders Johnnie’s ministry to families includes: Helping families transition from childhood to adulthood Teaching parents to communicate with their adult children Working through difficult situations as teens become adults Providing resources and ideas for productive grand-parenting Johnnie and her husband, Ted has been married for 40 years. They live in the suburbs of Houston, Texas on a lake where they enjoy boating and water sports and the occasional day of floating and reading.

One thought on “Sibling Rivalry: Is this STILL a thing?”

  1. Every now and again I have to remind my little guys that when they hurt and insult each other, they hurt me. That I love them all beyond words, so that when one is hurt, I am hurt as well. ‘Course, they just roll their eyes and insult each other quietly, but it gives them a taste of farther-reaching consequences to their actions.


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