One Way to Resolve Sibling Rivalry

I’m sad to admit that sibling rivalry began in our home the day we brought home baby #2. I had no idea that there would be such a struggle to see who is the king of the hill!

Since the beginning of time there has been sibling rivalry. In Genesis consider the first two brothers – Cain hated his brother so badly he killed Abel! Then there was Jacob and Esau – twins fighting over birth rights. And then Jacob showed favoritism toward Joseph and once again – sibling rivalry broke out. And then there’s Cinderella and her step-sisters – but that’s a whole other story right? 🙂

I was reading at Titus 2 At the Well yesterday and Glynnis Whitwer wrote an excellent post on siblings serving together – she said:

“Is it a coincidence that the first four disciples Jesus called to follow Him were two sets of brothers? Based on God’s intentionality throughout Scripture, that’s highly unlikely.It wasn’t an accidental choice to pick fishermen, and it wasn’t an accident they were brothers. Yes, Jesus knew just what He was doing when He called the sibling sets of Simon-Peter and Andrew, then James and John to join Him in His mission to teach the good news of the kingdom of God.”

This observation is so profound to me!!! Jesus called siblings to be His disciples. These siblings obviously did not have rivalries like the previous list I mentioned. They shared a heart for God and a passion to serve him and together they were greater than when they stood alone. I have two sisters who I call “Partners in Christ”. We each have different spiritual gifts but our hearts match in our depth of love for our Savior and our burden to serve God and I love hearing their stories of what God is doing in their lives!

I want this for my children. I want them to be able to share these deeper experiences of serving with each other. If you want this too – then that means we must start now! We should use the summer to look for opportunities for our children to serve together – whether it’s making dinner for someone in need or coloring pictures for a loved one – I want them to experience the thrill of being used by God – together – now!

2 days ago the kids and I mulched the flower beds. What could have been a disaster with bad attitudes in the hot July sun was (honestly) so much fun simply because we were working together to accomplish this task for daddy. I told them only “happy hearts” were allowed by the mulch and they rose to the occasion! I wish you could see their pink cheeks in this photo – because they never abandoned post and worked with me for nearly 3 hours – taking that huge pile of mulch they were standing on, down to this little pile!!! We worked together as a team.

It seems to be two steps forward – one step back with the kids and as soon as I post this blog I will probably hear a squabble break out – this keeps me humble! If you are battling sibling rivalry in your home consider starting a project that your kids can do together to take their eyes off of themselves and onto serving God.

Walk with the King!


  1. Courtney, thank you soo much for posting this! First of all, I never thought about the fact that Jesus chose siblings as disciples. That is so interesting! Secondly, sometimes I need to remember how my sisters and I used to fight as children…and they truly are my best friends now. Siblings are our first lesson in getting along with others-a lesson we will use throughout our lives. The project idea is GREAT! Boredom is always breeding ground for trouble. I love the thought of working together for a common goal. GREAT job with that mulch pile, Zander and Lexi!! 🙂

  2. This is a lovely post, friend!

    My sister and I really haven't appreciated each other until adulthood, and even now we're still learning to respect our differences. It grieves me that we have lost out on so many years of close friendship! Nathan and I have talked frequently about how to help our children see that they are on the same team and are not competitors!

    Serving together is a powerful uniting factor, especially in a family! This is one thing I'm really looking forward to with homeschooling – I'd like service to be a regular part of our "family curriculum"! 🙂

  3. Thanks Courtney, this is what we are struggling with lately and I needed to read this. I need to think of some good team activities for siblings. One thing that homeschooling encourages is that the older ones help teach the younger ones and I am looking forward to having Katherine help Elias with math when he starts school this year. I'll let you know how that turns out 🙂

  4. wow you guys did awesome with that mulching!I love this real life example of a family (siblings) working as a team…I would be tempted to think it would just be easier to do it myself but you took on the challenge and made it a learning and growing experience and can see how it was so much better and more efficiant to work as a team! Great!!

  5. Beautiful – thank you for sharing as I'm in the middle sibling rivalry with my kids too. I'm reading a book call Sibling Without Rivalry – its awesome and the steps to implement are really quite easy and amazingly effective. As I get through my book more, I will post on my site what's working. 🙂 Thank you for posting!

  6. Ok so this is the 2nd time I have clicked a link that sounded interesting on someone else’s blog and have gotten your blog. Hmm, I better look around and see what God is wanting me to learn from you!=)

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