Time to Read: 4 minutes
Listen as Michael and Maddox talk about how their relationship growing up flipped from being hurtful to helpful.
Siblings being Best Friends is a critical component of building an awesome family, and yet most parents don’t even think it is possible.
Why is it so important? Because we like having family parties where everyone gets along? That’s true…we do. When we get our kids together, we have an absolute blast.
But that’s not why it’s important. We want our kids to be all they can be. We want them to be filled with hope and love and confidence. We want them to step into all God has for them.
Well, guess what, parents? Sibling relationships are extremely influential in the development of our children. These relationships can be helpful or hurtful in our child’s development. The impact of these relationships goes through childhood all the way into adulthood.
In our podcast today we are going to take one sibling relationship in our family – our two oldest boys, Michael and Maddox – and show you the hurtful and helpful sides of what I am talking about. Their relationship was hurtful to Maddox in his younger years as Michael rejected him, but we continued to fight for it over many years. Michael turned and embraced his little brother, and now the relationship has been very helpful in Maddox becoming a much more confident kid. Michael has totally flipped the relationship and has helped Maddox to gain so much confidence.
At first, their relationship was certainly more hurtful than helpful. Michael’s first memory of Maddox was him chasing Maddox into the house with a plastic baseball bat because Maddox got him out! Maddox remembered that he couldn’t understand why, but he knew his older brother didn’t really like him.
The relationship was difficult for Maddox. He felt like he was annoying, not funny, and unable to relate to Michael and his friends. You could hear it in his voice how he did not feel accepted by Michael. This lack of acceptance created a sense of doubt in Maddox, a belief that maybe he didn’t have what it takes to be cool or to succeed. Maddox said about Michael, “He was my older brother. Everything he said had a different ring to it, it had more value than other people.”
Suzanne and I saw the impact of Michael’s rejection of Maddox, so we encouraged Michael to see his role as an older brother differently. We wanted him to see the impact he was having and to turn that impact from hurtful to helpful. In spite of our efforts, it was not sinking in!
As Michael said, they didn’t do life together and when they did, it was not helpful for Maddox. But then something changed.
As Michael got into high school, he started to connect with God more and decide to follow God’s ways. He became more servant-hearted and over time became more open to seeing the impact he was having on his sibling relationships.
He started to pursue Maddox. It started the beginning of his junior year, Maddox’s eighth-grade year. Michael invited Maddox into his life primarily through the youth ministry at our church. Michael connected him with his friends and some of the leaders in the ministry.
They talked about a mission trip they took together with Suzanne and McCade just last summer where a real breakthrough occurred. Michael really began to see Maddox as a cool kid and not an annoying little brother.
The lessons here: Never give up on sibling relationships, and these powerful relationships can always be redeemed.
The impact on Maddox has been amazing! Over these two years, his confidence and his faith have soared! Michael’s change in attitude toward his brother has been a big part of Maddox’s growth.
We go into this for a whole chapter – Chapter 8 – in our book, Crazy Cool Family. Go do some further reading to implant this truth deeper into your heart!
Let me say it again: Sibling relationships are a critical component of building a Crazy Cool Family! Keep encouraging it, praying for it, and casting that vision into your kids.
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].
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