Category Archives: Child Training

What to Do When Siblings Squabble?

Is there anything more common or more annoying than siblings squabbling? We have only come across one family, with two children, whose children say they never fought with each other. For most of us, that bickering between our children was a daily battle. We moms then ended up involved, refereeing the battle, giving admonishment and instruction, and often handing out consequences. 

Don’t moms love this verse? “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That was the desire of my heart for my children, but it was not the natural reality of their lives. So we worked toward that goal. 

A Consequence for Sibling Squabbles

One consequence we instituted as our children grew beyond preschool age was to assign the fighting children extra chore work that they were to do together. This removed them from the context of playing, which was when many of the squabbles developed as each tried to get what they wanted. Extra team chores took them into another realm where in order to complete the task they had to work together. 

Benefits of the Consequence

We found this consequence helpful for many reasons. First it gave me a set consequence that was easy to implement. That was a huge benefit since when I didn’t know what consequence to use, I did one of 3 things. I either ignored it, gave a consequence too big or too small, or lectured. Those were all frustrations and disappointments to me because they weren’t effective, and then I was more likely to react negatively to the children. When I knew exactly how to deal with a problem, I was able to maintain that meek and quiet spirit that my heart yearned for in those child raising years. 

Extra work together as a consequence for bickering benefitted the family because necessary chores was accomplished. The children who were troublemakers, because of their consequence, then freed up others from needing to do that work. 

We often assigned dinner clean up to children who weren’t getting along. Generally dinner cleanup jobs were given to anyone who was not on the meal preparation team. When clean up was used as a consequence for the bickering children, then the children who got along well were released from their normal meal clean up chores. That seemed to make the consequence doubly effective since we ended up rewarding good behavior in the process of disciplining the bad. 

This consequence forced the children receiving it to be a team. The more they continued to oppose each other, the longer the task took to accomplish. It really didn’t matter to me how long it took them to do the chore, but it did matter to them. Through experience they soon learned how much more efficient it was to work together rather than against each other.  We liked the natural consequences built into this discipline.

Our Go-To Consequence for Sibling Bickering

I am not saying that you don’t share Scripture with your children, help them learn how loving sibling relationships look and work, and teach them to see their wrong and ask forgiveness. That is all an important part of it, too. But for the practical aspect of a consequence for sibling bickering, this one was a go-to for Steve and me. 

Now our children are grown, and two brothers in particular share memories of all the numerous dinner clean ups they did together. It was certainly a work in progress for them that wasn’t accomplished with the first, second, or even tenth consequence. I love to see them now as not just loving siblings, but brothers in Christ who love and serve their wives and children. And you know what? They are really good in the kitchen!

IT’s a Joy

I greatly appreciated how Teri never complained about changing baby’s diapers. It sure wasn’t my favorite task! Over the years, that sweet wife of mine easily changed a minimum of 5,000 diapers per child. Considering eight children, she likely changed well over 40,000 diapers! The same cheerful attitude was exhibited while fixing over 50,000 meals (47 years of marriage) for our family. 

What about us? Do we cheerfully fulfill our God-given responsibilities? Do we see them as acts of obedience to Almighty God? We are to cheerfully obey whether we are providing for the family, doing house and car upkeep, discipling the children, or leading the family spiritually. 

“And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). 

Never Underestimate

Moses threw his staff down before Pharaoh, and it became a serpent (Exodus 7:10). If I was watching, I would have been impressed. Pharaoh wasn’t. He called in his magicians, and “they also did in like manner with their enchantments” (Exodus 7:11b). God could have prevented their magicians from doing the same, but He didn’t. 

Could it be that in addition to using it to harden Pharaoh’s heart, God wanted Moses to expect in the future the dark side to attempt to hinder God’s work in lives? We aren’t to fear it, but we should anticipate it and be in prayer about. 

Are you expecting your children to automatically receive Christ and live for Him just because they are living in your home? Being active in church is not enough either. 

Is Jesus the love of your life, your purpose in life, and your joy in life? Do you love His Word, and are you in it every day, personally and leading your family in Bible time because of that love? Your children must see His power/life at work in you. 

Live for Him my brothers with all your heart.  Be purposeful in discipling your children, Satan wants them.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  

Prayer for Current Events

Let’s continue on last week’s theme of responding to the wickedness in current events. We want to pray for those who are suffering, and we want to teach our children to pray too. 

Scripture is our guide and example in this. Notice when the man horrifically cut his concubine into twelve pieces (Judges 20:6), Scripture did not provide pictures or gory descriptions. That is why if you have a TV, this is a great time to put it out for the trash. Photos and details imprint on the brain, striking fear in hearts that just a statement of fact about a situation requiring for prayer shouldn’t (IE. Christians are being severely persecuted and desperately need our prayers). We don’t need details to pray effectively. 

When we hear something, we personalize what we hear. Next time someone tells you of a dentist appointment with painful work that was done on their teeth, notice how you run your tongue over your teeth. The more details, the more we picture that happening to us. How easy for a child who hasn’t grown in real love for Christ, or maybe not even saved to think, “I’m never going to be a Christian if that is what might happen to me.” 

God didn’t lead Israel to Canaan through the land of the Philistines because they weren’t mature enough to handle what they would face even though it was much shorter (Exodus 13:17). We need to be careful what goes into our children’s minds. 

Brothers, our suffering brothers and sisters need our prayers. Pray appropriately and with your family. “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

Our Own Enemy

When things go wrong, people want to blame someone. As an example, just a few hours ago I heard a casual acquaintance blame God for something. The reality is that usually we, ourselves, are to blame by making bad choices that lead to painful consequences. 

We can avoid much grief for our families if we will read and heed God’s Word. 

“Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6).

“Be ye therefore very courageous” – Brothers be resolute, unwavering in your commitment to follow Christ. This isn’t about a mere preference.

“to keep” – Retain, treasure and mediate on His Word. 

“and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses,” – Praise God we have more than just the law of Moses. We have it all. Read, my Brothers. Love it, and live it. 

“that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” – Be narrow-minded when it comes to His Word. Inhale the Word, exhale in obedience. 

Brothers, know the Word, live it, and then there will be no reason to blame anyone. It doesn’t mean things will always be without difficulties, but there is peace in following the Savior. (Continued)

Savory Sewage

Living in Florida I remember being fascinated any time I heard about a sinkhole event occurring, sort of like a modern Korah, Dathan, and Abiram moment (Numbers 16). Likely that single event of Numbers would hold the all-time, world record for sinkhole devastation. 

There is a costly, modern day sinkhole of another sort that impacts many (most?) men today. Sadly, few recognize the longterm consequences. However, I’m confident there is a horrific “cost” to God’s kingdom due to all the hours it sucks out of men’s lives and the negative impact to their souls. What is it? It is the news, and man’s insatiable “need” to be informed about every illegal, disastrous, scandalous, juicy, gory, and immoral event that the networks can find to keep their ratings up. 

Do I hear cries of “Heresy!” “Outrageous” “Insanity!”? Please extend me a bit of grace. Consider what the result of mentally “ingesting” the list from above? What profit is there? Does it build you up in Christ? Does it enrich your life or foster love, joy, or peace? Do you have a far greater hunger to read God’s Word as a family than you do to listen to or read the news? How many families are starved for the Bread of Life, while Dad is feasting on the sewage of the world?

Since it is a shame to speak of the works of darkness, it is certainly not good to listen or read them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Ephesians 5:11-12). 

My Brothers, Scripture tells us what we are to feed on. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

What Could Be Better?

Who would have imagined our government “giving” taxpayers big checks? Free money seems too good to be true. 

Might that be similar to many “believers” view of their relationship with the Lord Jesus today? They “believe” in Jesus, and in return, He is supposed to give them the good life. How did the greatest act of sacrificial love become so trivialized and distorted? 

We are not worth even a molecule of the Lord Jesus’ blood yet He thought it good to purchase us. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12). 

Might we use this season to adore Him and reflect on His sacrifice and worth? Thank Him, trust Him, obey Him, and worship Him. He alone is worthy. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

BTW, Satan cursed Adam and his children by getting Adam’s focus off of God and onto food (clever and effective). May we not be guilty as well by giving children chocolate bunnies and eggs when all attention and glory is due the Lord Jesus Christ? 

“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23).

Be Better Than Smart

I just sent my keyboard to the landfill by spilling tea on it. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know that tea on a keyboard might render it useless. I knew it, but the problem was my lack of acting on what I know. 

That might be the closest I come to similarity with Solomon. He knew better. He just didn’t implement what he knew. However, his was worse than a hundred-dollar keyboard. The wisest man in all the earth was warned of the consequences of marrying foreign wives. He had money, power, and wisdom. He lacked one thing, though, that his father David encouraged him toward. “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God…” (1 Chronicles 22:19). Solomon didn’t have a heart after God.

Then God said to Solomon, “if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom…” (2 Chronicles 7:18-19). 

My brothers, set your hearts on God—to love Him and obey Him. Make Him the joy of your life. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment” (Mark 12:30). 

Blah Blah Blah

We all have had a conversation with a boy who proclaimed he was going to do great and mighty things. Listening, you smiled, affirmed, and encouraged him as he spoke, but inwardly you wondered, “Will he actually do it?”

Have you noticed that doesn’t just apply to boys? A few months back, I was visiting with my son, Nathan, and his wife, Melanie, on the driveway when they were dropping something off. At one point in the conversation, I commented that I still wanted to lose ten more pounds, and I was going to do it. They responded with appropriate smiles and encouragement. Well, three months later, not only have I not lost those pounds, I have packed on a few more.

Aren’t we glad Noah, Moses, and Paul were men of God who put action to their words? What if Jesus, when in the garden, had called down legions of angels to avoid going to the cross? We all would be headed for eternity in hell. “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53).

What have you said you would do and haven’t? First in priority is our relationship with Christ (Col. 1:18) — in the Word every morning and praying (1 Peter 2:2). Make sure you are involved in a Bible-believing/preaching church each week (Hebrews 10:25). What about investing in your marriage (Eph. 5:25) and relationships with your children (Deut. 6:7)? (Don’t believe the quality versus quantity lie!) May we be men of our word.

Committed to Training Our Children

God gives us untrained children. From then on, everything we do or don’t do—our passions, subtile pleasures, self-discipline, reactions, what we hate, what we love —are all imprinted on our children. Whatever measure of rebellion, disrespect, or lack of self-control in our children that we accept is part of the “training process.” To top it off, how the child perceives our love of God, our worship, and time in His Word, can affect him for eternity. Self-control is one of the most important things for our children to learn.  

One tool that facilitates the whole family learning self-control is a daily, home schedule. Not only are needed things accomplished, but it helps a child (everyone for that matter) develop self-control. To submit to boundaries and structure is critical for life. The flesh wants freedom and nothing external telling it what to do. However, we are bought with a price. All of our time and our whole life is owned by our God. His yoke is easy for the obedient but not for the rebel. There are times to sit still and be attentive (church) and times to be active. Each must learn to rule over himself in order to submit to the One Who owns us.  

If you would like help in this area these resources have proven beneficial in tens of thousands of lives: Managers of Their Homes and Redeeming the Time.   

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).