Sibling Squabbles | Teaching Self-Government

Sibling Squabbles

Boy jealous of brother

A few years ago, a mother wrote to me with a success story that is so great, I just have to share it. She did exactly what I would have done. The names have been changed, but the story is true.

Two sisters, Becky and Sara, didn’t always get along. On the day Sara got baptized, Becky approached her older sister and said, “I think it’s stupid you got baptized.”

From this communication it’s easy to see that Becky is jealous of all the attention Sara received on her baptism day. Becky thinks she will somehow be superior if she can make Sara feel bad.

This type of behavior is not appropriate and needs to be addressed.

First, I would instruct Becky to come with me. In secret, I would help Becky see what she was communicating to her family members. She communicated to her sister that she isn’t happy for her and doesn’t love her. She told her family that if she doesn’t get attention all the time, she can’t be happy. I would ask her to repeat back to me what she was communicating. Next, I would pray with her to ask forgiveness for being cruel and driving the Spirit of love out of the home. In the prayer, I would ask for the spirit of love to return to the family. Most importantly, I would pray for Becky to have feelings of love for her sister.

I would assume Becky and Sara had a disagreement prior to such a hurtful comment, so I would remind Becky how to disagree appropriately. We would practice disagreeing the right way.

Finally, Becky needs some correcting because she behaved selfishly. Her actions went against the vision of the family. I would do a corrective teaching. In this particular case, an extra chore would be appropriate. A SODAS could also be used with the topic, “I feel angry with my sister on her special day.” It’s always good to notice that there are many options in these situations.

Don’t forget Sara! She probably had something to do with the situation. If her behavior has earned a negative consequence, do a corrective teaching. Make sure to pre-teach her for accepting a consequence. She will feel like the victim because a mean thing was said to her, even if she also made bad choices.

Sara has probably also had bad feelings toward her sister. These kinds of feelings go against the vision for the family. To help her feel a spirit of family and love, I would also have a private prayer with Sara.

I loved that the mother in this story kept a cool head, did great corrective teaching, praised all positive steps toward self-government and effectively changed the hearts of Becky and Sara!