There is nothing like the bond between brothers. They can be your friend one moment, and your bitter rival the next. They can be a confidant, all while annoying you to the brink of insanity. Having brothers can make life exciting while adding sentimental moments. They can cause you to hate them for an instant, and yet make you laugh so hard that food comes out of your mouth.
What is so important about having a brother?
Research states, “Sibling relationships are emotionally powerful and critically important not on in childhood but over the course of a lifetime. They are your first peer group, where you learn social skills and the art of managing conflict. They provide a significant source of continuity throughout a child’s lifetime and are likely to be the longest relationships that most people experience.”
Scientist say that brotherhood is something that is built over time, while overcoming rivalries, learning to appreciate the different strengths and characteristics of one another, and creating positive memories to last a lifetime.
The first set of brothers were Cane and Abel-and we know how that ended. So what’s a mom to do to promote a strong sense of camaraderie within the men of her tribe?
As a mom of five boys let me first say that boys will be boys. It is an absolutely true stereotype in our home. While they are all very loving towards their mama, they tend to punch one another, make messes, and will eat anything…and I mean ANYTHING…all the time. While they would never hug one another they do however enjoy wrestling each other to the point of begging, will tease each other relentlessly, but would defend each other to the death.
But building relationships and learning to communicate don’t always come naturally. Therefore, we started the buddy system. I assign each child a buddy for the month. We ask that they spend quality time with that sibling, send encouraging text messages, and pray for them. This comes so much more easily for our girls. They are natural nurturers. Not so for our boys. They need much encouragement in this department. (I keep telling them that this will make them better husbands…and they roll their eyes)
One way we have set the tone for brotherly relationships is to allow opportunities for them to create lifelong memories together. This takes a little imagination…and determination. You must be intentional in promoting healthy sibling relationships. Your children should be BEST FRIENDS.
Here are some ideas to promote healthy relationships between your boys:
1. Go fishing! This is cheap, easy, and relaxing. All ages can enjoy a day at the creek. My suggestion is to leave the cell phones in the car.
2. Go hiking-again, this is a cheap form of entertainment and most likely they won’t have cell service. They can talk and walk!
3. Camping-our boys love to set the tents up (even in the yard) and spend the night under the stars. Give them some snacks and leave them alone. They will survive!
4. Give them a project to do together. This promotes teamwork and a sense of accomplishment.
5. Volunteer together. Our kids have prepared meals for a local soup kitchen, handed out blankets during the cold winter to the homeless and work together in our church food bank.
Your boys need to make memories together! They need to get dirty working on trucks, laugh about private jokes, and make midnight runs to grab snacks. One day they will sit around and laugh about the day they went tubing down the creek and almost caught the woods on fire trying to fry fish. They will laugh about their hunting adventures, remember how they made their own slip and slide, and how they ate wings while doing some night time fishing.
They will remember all the wrestling matches, the soccer games, the time the baseball went through the glass window, and even all the girls their sisters brought home. Yes, having a brother is having a lifelong friend.
So mom, let your boys bond. Give them opportunities to make memories together. And leave them alone…together. They need to share their dreams with one another, talk about the cute new girl at youth group, and tell each other their deepest secrets. Let them learn to love the good, the bad, and the really ugly moments in each other’s lives. Teach them to depend on each other, pray fervently for their brother, and always defend one another. Train them to be their brother’s keeper.