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If someone were to ask about my greatest accomplishment as a parent, I would choose the fact that all four of our children are best friends.

As parents, we strive to give our children the best that life has to offer, often sacrificing the things that we need in order to buy them what they want or need. We try to create an environment that is comforting and full of love. We teach them right from wrong, and hopefully set a good example in our daily lives.

Having a house full of kids, I was always concerned about something, and one of my great concerns was sibling rivalry. While competition between kids can be healthy and little spats here and there are to be expected, siblings need to have a special bond that will survive anything and everything.

When our children were very young (ages four through nine), I sat them down and explained that no matter what happens in life, the bond between the four of them is the strongest thing they have. To illustrate my point, I took apart a straw broom, gave each child a single straw, and had them break it in half. I then asked if it was easy to break their straws. They nodded their little heads, not quite understanding what this was all about.

kids bonding

Next, I gathered a bunch of single straws and tied them into a bundle with a ribbon. Again, I asked each child to break them in half. Try as they might, however, they could not break the bundle of straws. I then pointed out that they were just like the straws. By themselves, they didn't have anywhere near the power and strength as the four of them together. If they stuck together and supported each other through life, I explained, no one would ever be able to break them.

This little exercise had a real impact on my children at the time. Of course they fought and argued from time to time, as siblings will do. However, the four of them always stuck together. Today, when they are almost adults, my heart melts when I see them cheer each other on, provide support and encouragement, and criticize each other in a constructive way.

They even help each other choose the right friends. It never ceases to amaze me that if one child brings home a new friend that the others don't approve of, that "friend" will not be around very long.  It usually happens in a subtle manner so that no one gets their feelings hurt, but it happens nonetheless. I find it very comforting to see how they respect each other's opinions and care about each other's feelings.

As my children approach adulthood with strong bonds of love and respect for each other, I still find myself worrying about something. Most of the time, I'm not even sure what I'm concerned about. Perhaps it's the next stage of life they must go through. Perhaps it's just part of being a mom. Either way, the worrying never seems to stop.

My husband says I'm not happy unless I have something to worry about. Who knows?  He may be right.

All the best,

Queen of Worries

p.s. Do you have tips to share about your kids and what you’ve done for them to be close?

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Maryann Rhodey wrote May 19, 2010
    • Annie, you are right!  They will remember all of it.  I used to tell my daughters the same thing.  I would tell them that together they can be strong and be there for each other.  They are close and talk on a regular basis even though my one daughter is still single and my other daughter is a mom of two boys.  They talk about how they are still learning from each other and call each other for advice and to help solve problems.  I love that they are there for each other.  

      When my daughters were little one time and they were fighting I sent them both to their rooms to look in the Bible and find a passage that said fighting with your sisters was allowed and good.  They wound up getting together and trying to find something together.  It worked!  They remember that to this day!  

      Also, when they were growing up, if they were fighting I would ask them what they could do to solve the issue and write it down and give it to each other.  It really helped them calm down enough and then find a solution.  I always had to be on my game or else I’d get frustrated and send them both to their rooms.  

      I used to keep a list of things they could do on my refrigerator so they could look or I could look at a way to help solve the problem.  As they got older, I would just say, check the fridge.  Once they were teenagers, there were small squabbles about who left the bathroom a mess or who wore whose clothes but they always worked it out.  But I had to teach them, a little at a time, that they could learn how to solve the problems themselves.  Of course, they weren’t perfect but they learned and now are best friends.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote May 19, 2010
    • I sometimes hear my kids talking to their siblings in my tone of voice relating the same message, it’s an eerie feeling, but I can’t help but smile and think to myself, that every time I thought they were not listening, or paying attention to my preaching and bitching, I was wrong, the were all absorbing it in and only now it’s coming out for everyone else to hear and see.

      My husband’s best line of advice for all parents is “CONSISTENCY“, do what you think is right and stick with it, and at the end it will pay off.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Godrescuedgirl wrote May 19, 2010
    • heart

      Great illustration on sticking together.

      heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote May 19, 2010
    • Yana I really like how you explained to your kids about the bonds of family. My kids are each others biggest defenders and also best friends. Even tho my 2 girls occasionally get on each others nerves they are sad to be apart.

      I had explained to them when they were younger that they will encounter many people along the way and many of them will become their best friends. However the bonds of siblings is love unconditional!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darlene Sabella wrote May 19, 2010
    • My Children are not close, they are starting to come together a little bit more lately.  But, they lived on different ends of the state and have very different lives.  However, it seems when their is a family crises they have jointed together to help each other.  Maybe they will now become good friends.  I pray this is so... great article I loved it and it does bring things in predictiveheart.  Your friend and fan darski



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Idahodawn wrote May 19, 2010
    • Great! My children are 25, 23, and 22. They are each others best friends still and always have been. When they were little they always had each other to play with and I feared that when they grew up that would change but thankfully they hang out at each others homes and when they need a shoulder they go to each other.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote May 19, 2010
    • My daughters are very close, I raised them to be close, to be there for one another because after I’m gone they will be all they have (each other) so they have builted a wonderful relationship together.  happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote May 19, 2010
    • My kids are now too all over California, but we all make it a point to meet at least once a month as a family and talk on the phone several times a day.  

      Honestly, I didn’t sign up for this....raise them and then they move away....but I know that if we do our job right our kids will move on with their lives and sometimes that takes moving a way.

      I told them though that if they want a baby sitter for their kids they better move back home estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie66 wrote May 19, 2010
    • I always told my boys that they are each other’s best friend and no matter where life may take them they know they can count on each other... They do have their moments but they are always there for one another.. I love that!! My 2 brothers aren’t speaking to one another and it does hurt to see them that way and I hate to say this but I use that as an example and tell my boys that as time goes by that I hope and pray that never happens between them..
      They told me not to worry that they will be there for one another.. I’m so greatful that my boys are so close to one another..



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisad64 wrote May 19, 2010
    • Question: I am in a relationship with someone that is divorced. There are 2 girls(8 and 10).
      They fight alot. They have a problem sharing with anything they have. They both have basically the same toys because one cannot have something different from the other. They argue who will call their neighbor friend, they fight who will get in on the computer. The youngest presses buttons with the older one to try and get them upset knowing that the other will get upset. They cannot play with the neighbor friend without one of them getting upset with other for not doing what they want to do. I have been in this relationship for five years. I just thought the fighting would of subsided after the seperation, but it is actually getting worse. When do things change with these two? Like, when will they enjoy each other and go one day without fighting?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote May 19, 2010
    • Yana, and all the other wonderful mommies, y‘all have done a great job with your kids, parening is tough.  

      Lisa, I wish I could offer advice on girls, I have 3 boys and I’ve learned boys are so much easier than girls.heart



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote May 20, 2010
    • They were at one time, but a rift happened and now they are strained.frown



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote May 20, 2010
    • @lisad64, The girls are probably acting out the divorce, and the fact that they hate that their parents are now separated, YOU can’t do anything about that, but your boyfriend  and his X wife should definitely think of at least talking to a professional to get some help on the issue.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Gabby wrote May 20, 2010
    • Yana,

      You have hit the nail on the head. Bonding amongst siblings can be a lifetime Blessing for the parents—-provided sibling rivalry is also checked in a timely manner.

      Maintaining a sense of “Balance” is the key to good parenting indeed!

      Gabby



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisad64 wrote May 20, 2010
    • I appreciate the responses. I know I cannot do anything and it seems like both parents  have tried but it doesn’t seem to sink in too well with the kids. It’s like they control both households. I see it, I mentioned it and it was not received very well. Which I have a problem with, if you want to have someone in your life and you see what is going on you should have the right to approach the situation. In my case I feel that I cannot talk about it. I have to make a decision, be with the person that I love and watch these kids disrespect them and cause chaos or end the relationship. FIve years of thinking things will change and seeing it only getting worse is a long time. A professional was suggested last year by the therapist of the wife and nothing has been done.
      I understand kids fight. I did it when I was young, but we were told once to stop and then we got it if not.

      Thanks again everyone.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lita wrote May 21, 2010
    • I am soo happy to hear that “fighting siblings” are kind of a normal thing.  Mine are 20,15 and 10 and when anyone of them are away from each other for a day or two they start asking when the other one is coming home.  So even though they fuss and fight they do love one another.  My oldest will be going away to finish  college in August—-I know that will be a factor in bringing them closer together.  It may prove that saying: distance makes the heart grow fonder” :) We will see....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Carla Gardiner wrote May 22, 2010
    • Hi Yana,

      Reading your story on sibling rivalry and the closeness of siblings sure took me back to when my kids were small.

      Having one girl and one boy sometimes was a big help, although my daughter being the oldest made it hard at times...she wanted to be the mommy and do the parenting.

      In spite of our encouragement to be the best people that they could be as individuals, they always seemed to compare themselves to each other. As a mom, that was so frustrating, but we would set the record straight and get them back on their individual paths again.

      Today, my daughter is close to 30 years old and my son almost 27, they are inseparable, although they live two states apart and rarely see each other. The wonders of technology though, the cell phone is a wondrous tool to keep my kids together.

      Each calls the other when a major event happens in their lives, it is sort of comical to watch. Mom and dad are always the last to know, just like when they were little, nothing has changed.

      Thanks for bringing back the wonderful memories that have made being a mom so grand.heart

      Carla J Gardiner



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Rawa19 wrote May 25, 2010
    • I’m hoping that my girls will be good friends as they grow up. They are still 2 and 4 and there is a lot of competition. Their Dad and I divorced so the focus is all on me and who sits in my lap first and who gets a back rub at night time first, etc.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Alina Bartell wrote Jun 9, 2010
    • What a good subject. I am not close to my own sister but I know how much we are missing. When I look at my boys that’s exactly what I want for them. Health and happiness but we all know there will be ups and downs and their closest support will have to be from each other. They actually do quite well, other than they would never admit that like each other!



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