As noted in yesterday’s posting, parents must be available consistently throughout the day during the hours that they are with you and not in school or at their various activities. It is in these moments that you spend time with them, even if it is just watching television together, that you have an opportunity to communicate your moral values to them. You can make a comment about the moral situations observed on the television, or if you are out-and-about in the community, you can comment on moral situations that you see occur in these public places. For example, you and your child may both observe a person acting deceitfully or selfishly. When you see such things, and the child sees as well, you can comment on what should have happened, and you can even teach the child where the lesson comes from in the Bible (perhaps the Golden Rule or one of the Ten Commandments or the two greatest commandments to love God and love other people on behalf of God).
Another way to reinforce the moral code of the household is when conflict arises between siblings. At these moments, you must remind them that they don’t hate each other, so they should treat each other respectfully. And you can point out that, in a conflict, there is usually wrong on both sides (both could have handled the situation better, resulting in a better outcome, regardless of who started the problem). These situations give an opportunity for the child to build positive relationship skills in handling a conflict between their sibling and others, and they become self-policing at a certain point. You may also be required to step back and allow them to settle their own arguments without you intervening, once they have been trained with the right techniques. They need to fly solo with you watching over, saying nothing, to ensure that all goes right. But once you have trained them in proper conflict resolution and observed them successfully practice it a few times, then you can leave them to their own devices during future conflicts, letting them work it out as they build their conflict resolution and overall social interaction skills.
Believe me, it works; it just takes effort, patience, and consistency on your part to calmly and rationally teach them what went wrong in their interaction and how they could do it better next time. Perhaps you can even make them role-play to practice on the spot the very words they should have used and will use the next time there is conflict. This role-play practicing of the right words is one of the best reinforcing and training tools to teach children and ensure that the lesson sticks. We have used these techniques in our family, and now our children are all well into their teens and are very good friends with each other and enjoy each other’s company. Since my wife and I did the due diligence in training them to treat each other respectfully when they were much younger, they never did anything that would leave a lasting scar of resentment or a root of bitterness between them, and thereby damaging their relationships for many years into the future. But it is these early lessons that root deeper into their hearts, minds, and spirits and stick with them most consistently. This is what Proverbs 22:6 is referring to in “training up a child in the way he should go.”
I pray that you will be filled with God’s Wisdom and Patience in guiding peaceful relationships within your home.