Should I make my kids share?

How to grow truly generous hearts

Left to their own devices, toddlers form “rules of possession” that can last a lifetime if not understood and addressed by parents. Does this list look familiar?

  • If I like it, it’s mine.
  • If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
  • If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
  • If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
  • If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

Forcing kids to share robs them of the joy of sharing. However, cultivating joy in sharing leads to true generosity. This road of nurturing generosity is a slow process of building a life-long value. So be patient with your kids and yourself!

Armed with the guiding insights and proactive strategies below, you’ll be able to help your children learn to value and even enjoy sharing!

Should I Require Fighting Kids to Apologize?

Read this mom’s story of genuine reconciliation

Sibling conflict can be discouraging as parents wonder, “Will these kids ever learn to get along? Will they ever be close?” Jim and I wondered that. Our online course, Sibling Conflict: From Bickering to Bonding, is packed with the insights and practical tools we learned. We guided our kids from hurtful, even aggressive conflicts, to the joy, connection and heartfelt reconciliation that has equipped them to thrive in all their important relationships. 

Carrie, a single mom of triplets shared her story of implementing what she has learned in the course:

I watched the segment in your sibling online course about how to guide kids to repair broken relationships. I thought about the valuable opportunity to empower kids for true reconciliation. After bathtime, conflict inevitably erupted among my 5-year-old triplets over who was going to dry off with which towel.

Before the course, I would have quickly decreed who got which towel and commanded an apology: “Sorry.” “I forgive you.” No one would have meant it, of course, and by the time we had all said our well-rehearsed scripts, we would be scowling at each other.

4 Sure-Fire Tips for Parents to Survive the Summer

Tips to Survive Summer

It’s summer again, and you know what that means: a totally different rhythm to schedules and family time, with lots of time for connection… and conflict.

There are long, glorious days ahead: sunshine, free time and the slower pace of summer means that you can create lasting family memories. It also means more time for tempers to flare–yours and your kids’–when expectations for a great memory-worthy summer don’t happen the way we imagined. We don’t want you to feel like you are just biding your time until school returns. You can make the most of your family time this summer, and make it the best summer yet with grace and connection.

We thought we’d help you kick off your summer by re-sharing one of our favorite summer posts — 4 tips to help you retain your parenting sanity this summer.

Can We Get Kids to Say “Sorry” Like They Mean It?

When kids fight, parents typically try to resolve things by telling the kids they have to say they’re sorry.

While parents may be aware that this can be a very shallow, “go through the motions” sort of consequence for kids, they may also struggle to know what to do instead — “How else will my kids know that they should say they’re sorry?”

We can’t make our kids give a heartfelt apology. But we’ve found that not only can kids learn the importance of apologizing and reconciling from the heart, but they can even learn to the point where they value reconciliation enough to mend broken relationships themselves!

In this short 3 minute video, Lynne shares a helpful illustration to explain conflict resolution to kids, and some practical tips for teaching and modeling reconciliation in your home.


Take 15 minutes to learn how to give consequences that teach, rather than simply punish, by downloading our free ebook Consequences That Actually Work.

How to Help Kids Like Each Other… with Photos!

Ever feel like the moments where your kids actually like each other are few and far between? Or like deep down they love each other, but they forget as their connection gets lost in the shuffle of sibling conflict and craziness?

Lynne was worried about that very thing when parenting her three intense kiddos who fought all the time — so she decided to change the narrative and help her kids remember that they like each other, all with the use of photos! Watch the video to hear why and how she did it:

Tired of Sibling Fighting? We Can Help!

 

Tired of Sibling Fighting-

Parents of siblings… did you ever think it would be this hard?

You imagined your kiddos as best friends, being there for each other throughout life, always having each other’s backs. And yet, here they are, yo-yo-ing from best friends to bitter enemies several times a day. Sometimes it seems like the “best friend” moments are becoming increasingly fleeting as you just try to keep the next world war from launching in your living room.

We’ve been there. We feel your pain. And we’re working to develop an online course specifically to address this seemingly impossible challenge.

Help Kids Handle “NO” by Getting Great at “YES!”

If you want your kids to respect and value your “no’s!” work harder on your “yeses!”

It’s good to teach kids the various “No’s!” in life. The best foundation for doing this is to help them habitually experience the resounding joy of the “Yes!”

For example…

  • If you want your children to say “no” to mistreating each other, create experiences — lots of them — in which they are on the same “team” having fun together. Celebrate the fun with them. Verbally affirm it: “You guys seem so happy when you’re having fun together.”
  • Or, if you want your children to say “no” to too much screen time, help them find ways to experience the joy of real-world experiences. If they like adventures, go on a hike or a camping trip. If they like movies, help them make one.
  • Or, if you want your kids to value saying “no” to too much unhealthy food, do lots of things to enjoy finding and preparing healthy food together.

The older they get the harder it is, so start early and often!

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How to Not Take Sides When Siblings Fight

 

In our family, one of the realities we face is siblings who fight. I tend to want to stop my children’s rivalry in its tracks, but I have found that I sometimes contribute to the problem rather than solve it.  Ultimately, I really want my children to figure out how to stop fighting on their own, but at first, I didn’t have the tools.  Through Connected Families, I learned how to teach my children to solve their quarrels–a life skill I want them to carry into adulthood.

Examining Motives

“Don’t jump to conclusions” and “believe the best in people” are two phrases I repeat often in my family — especially to my 11-year-old son.

But, if I’m honest, when my kids fight I am the one who jumps to conclusions and doesn’t believe the best in people.

As the youngest of four kids myself (poor, innocent me) I naturally see life from my daughter’s point of view (age 9). My husband, who grew up as the older brother of two, naturally sees life from our son’s point of view. When we get involved in our children’s fights, it is almost impossible to act as neutral parties, since we’ve got our own baggage to deal with!

This is why, when I started immersing myself in Connected Families content a few years ago (before I was employed with them) parenting tips like “When Kids Fight” helped guide me through some really difficult times. Here’s one of my favorite lines:

How to Turn a Parenting Fail into a Parenting Win

It was a Sunday evening. I was emotionally and physically done for the day and looking forward to a quiet house. Suddenly I overheard squabbling about who was the rightful owner of a large stuffed panda bear.

My engagement with sibling conflict has often aggravated my son’s anger: he feels criticized by my effort to protect his younger sister. I should have known better than to get involved in this panda bear affair, especially when I was already a little bit cranky! But I was tired and I just wanted them to go to bed so I could have a little peace and quiet to start my week.

The most sure-fire road to respectful kids!

“Knock it off! Stop it! Get over here, NOW!” These are familiar phrases for most parents. When kids act up we get frustrated. We get demanding and even disrespectful. Kids may comply with our demands in the short run but over the long run they learn from our example to be frustrated, demanding, and disrespectful when they’re not getting their way.

Dustin was becoming this kind of parent. He saw where it was leading and knew he wanted to walk a different road. He looked at numerous resources and when he discovered Connected Families he knew he had found what he was looking for. For the past 14 months he has immersed himself in Connected Families resources and support. Where once his primary goal was quick fixes and parental control, his primary goal is now to come alongside his kids as a model of God’s grace and guidance. It’s been hard work and it’s far from finished. But this recent report from Dustin shows the results: