Tips For Raising Children That Get Along With Others
I fought a lot with my brother when I was growing up, and I am pretty sure he started to get his white hair during my teenage years. I was rebellious from my first day of life.
Ephesians 4:32 reminds us, “ And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Now as a parent I have been searching for guidance on how I can raise children that get along with others.
I seek answers from the Bible, from my church, at work, and anytime I meet a mother who has kids. I also ask older mothers, who are grandmothers now, to share their wisdom with me. Here are some tips that I learned from these resources and in my own (relatively short) 12 years of parenting:
Tip#1 - Don’t leave your children unattended for long periods of times
Having been born in Romania under Communist regime, I witnessed that the government gave hardly any time for parents to be with their kids. My parents left at 6 A.M. every day and returned home very late. We were left alone for long hours. It was only the mercy and constant protection of our Lord that kept my parents’ home standing. This experience greatly formed me as a parent and as a mother.
Leaving children alone gives them time to find something to fight over. The second you decided to leave, you give the supervision of your house to your children. The child becomes a tiny grown up with no experience and your house can become a minefield.
It is in the nature of most siblings to constantly compete with each other (who knows better how to warm soup or cook noodles, who controls the TV, etc.). Leaving your children unattended by an adult for long periods of time is breeding ground for them to become very strong willed and competitive.
Tip#2 - Express your love for your children in ways appropriate for each child
God gives us children. We are responsible to fill their “love buckets” every day. Our heart is a bottomless fountain of love filled by the Holy Spirit. There is enough in it for all of our children. It is important to find the love language of your child. If they don’t feel loved, they might act out in an attempt to find love.
Raising children that get along with others starts with a true understanding of Agape Love. When your child understands that other people have different love languages, they will start to not only to get along with others but also how they can truly show Christ’s love to others (John 13:34).
Tip#3 - Give up your unrealistic expectations for your children
Whether conscious or not, when a child is born, parents have all kinds of expectations for them. Some of these expectations are unrealistic. We idealize our children and are hurt when they don’t meet our expectations. Children know when they are not accepted and when we are disappointed in them.
Setting unfair expectations on your child does not foster a good relationship with your child. It also can teach them to put expectations on other people. This is a recipe for disaster and can lead to disappointment in their future relationships. Instead, bring to light that God has made each person unique and we should not expect him or her to be the same (Psalm 139:14).
Tip#4 - Don’t stop a sibling fight every time
I used to stop their fights whenever it ignited. I was louder than they were. I have realized that it is not the best solution. Their anger will be there. I only stopped the fight, I didn’t solve it. Now I let them fight for a while. Sometimes they come to a solution themselves. This develops their communication ability. It makes them think about the situation. Raising children that get along with others doesn’t mean that you mask the anger, but teach them how to communicate through it (Ephesians 4:26).
Other times I try to guide them through. I remind them that our house is not the zoo. I try to teach them to choose a normal tone of voice. It is not easy to keep calm. There were times when I started to laugh. It reset their mind. They started to smile too and realized that it didn’t make sense to fight. It teaches them to pick the battles that are worth fighting for.
Tip#5 – Set a good example for your children
Give your children an example to live by. Teach them how important it is to be kind and compassionate to others. This is one of the most important things you can teach them. It will help them with their decision-making when they grow up.