Parenting Class

This Month’s Parenting Class: Teaching Your Teen to Be a Good Example to Younger Siblings

Do you have an older sibling? Did you look up to them when you were growing up? Do you remember feeling like they could do no wrong?

Maybe you were the oldest in your family and you had younger siblings? Do you remember them annoyingly following you around or even mimicking your every move?

Sibling relationships and dynamics are a powerful thing. The power can be good or bad. If you had siblings growing up, older or younger, you know that it is true. Especially if you ever talked a younger sibling into doing something you didn’t want to do or even for taking the blame for something you did.

Parents of pre-teens into the teen years must think back and remember the power of sibling influence. Just as significant as sibling rivalry in a home is sibling example. It is important than that we teach our older children to be aware of the example they set for their younger siblings in 3 key areas.

1. Actions. Like the old phrase “monkey see, monkey do”, the same is true in your home. What younger siblings see an older sibling do they will try to do as well, that is why is important for older teen siblings to be wise and aware for their actions.
Jesus’ younger brother James even writes about this for us when he says “…By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.” We all know the other simple phrase that is true as well, “actions speak louder than words”.

Parents must be good examples for their children, but also they need to have honest conversations with older children in their homes about the example their older children set for younger siblings too.

2. Reactions. The one place where emotions run the most raw and real is in the home, with people that know us best. You would never think of reacting to people publicly the way you might react to your family. This is especially true when it comes to your teens. They spend time at church or at school. They are known for being kind and well mannered. A few minutes in the door at home and suddenly they are a completely different person?

They react to situations and family members in ways that are emotional and disrespectful. Their younger siblings watch and learn by what is modeled for them. How an older sibling reacts, will be the way younger children in the home will react, also.

Not only do you need to immediately address the inappropriate reactions, but also you need to make sure your teen knows that their reactions teach the younger family members the wrong responses.

3. Interactions. Actions and reactions lead to interactions. Whether it is connected to human relationships or your spiritual relationship with God, interactions are part of how we were created. We desire interactions through communication and connection.

Younger siblings want to interact and connect with their older sibling they look up to. These important shaping interactions need to be one that set the example for how they build human friendships.

Guiding your teen as an older sibling by setting up times of family fun and activities will allow them to show an example of good interaction.

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