Nurture Sibling Friendships :: Parenting Tip Number Nine

It is important to help and encourage our children to become each other’s best friends.
Next to their future spouse, ideally their siblings will always be their best friends.

When your children get into an argument or fight, help them work through their disagreements. Ask them questions like:
“How could you have responded in a more God-honoring, kinder way?”
“How will you handle this next time?”
“Was that a kind thing to do/say to your best friend?”


Ideally, have both squabbling children confess what they have done wrong. Even if one is ten % at fault, and one is ninety % at fault, they both need to admit their own sin. Then, also ideally, they should ask each other’s forgiveness.


For years, we quoted Ephesians 4:32 every single night before bed.”And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” When they argued during the day, I would ask them if they were applying this verse to their lives. Sometimes I would go through each principle in that verse one at at time,

“Are you being kind?”
“Are you being tenderhearted?”
“Are you being forgiving, as Christ forgives us?”

Tell your children, often, that they are each other’s best friends. Spend time together as a family. Give them ideas about something nice they can do for a sibling. Teach them to rejoice with their sibling when something nice happens to them. Do not allow them to mistreat a sibling in any way.


Confession time: When my children were little, I sometimes (okay, often) ended the day in tears, because of all the squabbling that had gone on all day. However, after years (and yes, it does take years) of practicing the principles above, I am happy to say that they are each other’s best friends. On a daily basis, they laugh and talk and spend time together….all by choice.



It brings such joy to my heart to see them enjoy each other’s company. I would be much less than honest if I say they NEVER argue or disagree. But now a days, it is the definitely the exception, rather than the norm.

Your turn! How do you help your children maintain a good friendship? Did you grow up with a good relationship with your siblings?


Written by

Kim Stilwell has been married to her best friend, Jeff, since 1987. They have five children, Joshua (1992) who has been married to Alissa since 2013, Joseph (1995), Josiah (1997), Jessica (1998) and Jennifer (2001), as well as eight children in Heaven, all of whom died before birth. Kim was a missionary kid who grew up in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. She met Jeff, also an MK, at a missionary school in Peru. Immediately following their wedding, they attended college in Iowa and have lived there ever since. Kim is a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom. In her spare time, she likes to write, and has a column in the NICHE newsletter.

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