I have felt like I'm in the tunnel looking for the light in regards to the communication between my younger set of boys (15, 13, 11, 8). We have read Bible passages on the use of the tongue, memorized Scripture on edifying others, chastised, chastened, admonished, yelled, growled (you know that sound you make when you're just plain fed up?), and banished them to separate rooms. Today, I set a price--different prices for different ages--that they have to pay to the one they've verbally offended. I am the sole judge of inappropriate communication and there is no appeal process. This is totalitarian rule.
I could feel despairing, but I don't. I have older boys (23, 21, 19) who like each other. They had their moments, days, even years of not feeling too warm and fuzzy about one another but we're through the tunnel and into the light. In fact, Joey and Keith (with their wives) just returned from a ten day vacation together.
About 20 years ago my husband announced to me, "Our children WILL love each other." I shook my head at what I immediately concluded to be his grave ignorance, but then thoughtfully considered what he said. I began to think about what makes people NOT love each other. As far as siblings go, they love the ones who are good and kind to them. They love the ones who make them feel special or treat them with respect. They DON'T like the ones who mock, ridicule, belittle, tease, or make fun of them. I realized that a lot of the trouble between my sister and I (when we were young) came as a result of my annoying behavior. I should have been stopped. So, it became my goal to make my children treat one another well, and let the feelings "fall where they may".
If our desire is to be immitators of Christ, it has to start with how we treat one another--brothers and sisters in our home. I think I've let too much slide for too long but, by the grace of God, I'm determined to redirect this second half of the family to love each other!!
You never know, if they're really stubborn about it someone might get rich in the process.