As an only child, siblings have always intrigued me! I have both longed to have siblings and simultaneously been apprehensive of stereotypical sibling conflict. I studied siblings too. Although as a child I never actually took notes, I would observe sibling sets through friendships. I had two sets who were polar opposites of each other but my age was situated right in the middle of each sister. With one pair, I would leave their house tired and tense because they had treated me a bit like a tug-of-war rope, arguing over me during the entire visit. The other set loved each other so much and I was invited into the relationship to simply multiply the caring and imagination. I would leave their house energized and inspired because they were pros at imagination and taking turns, but a bit envious because they were rarely lonely. I marveled at the difference...
My study, observation (and yes, my apprehension) intensified as my husband and I prepared for the birth of our second child and the new section of our journey as parents to siblings. There are a plethora of examples of close and distant siblings in all phases of life. Environment and levels of effort both affect sibling relationships. Over the course of 2018, PLAtime will have a sibling focus and we invite parents to come along with us. The following are some questions to help parents walk through setting up their own intent and levels of investment in their children as siblings. These are questions I use to periodically evaluate my investment in my children's relationships with each other. We will look at some practical activities, but individual families must discover their own "why" and "how much" driving investment in sibling relational connections.
1. Do I have some favorite examples of siblings? If so, who are they? If not, where can I look ...people I know, in books and movies, etc.?
2. What do I admire about these siblings?
3. What are some qualities that I would like for our children to experience in their relationship with each other?
4. Do I have some favorite Biblical moments or movie moments between siblings? Have I ever actually shared these with the kids? The most commonly known sibling conflicts in the Bible often have lesser known but extremely powerful reconciliation moments. Do my kids know these?
5. How much time do I spend planning experiences for them? How much time do I spend refereeing conflict between them? How can I be more preventative in conflict by investing time and effort in preparing shared experiences that draw them together?
Hoping sibling bonds flourish this year in our homes and may we PLA well!