Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How I am using the Brother Offended Program ...

Well, Ladies, some of you want to know how I am using the Brother Offended chart and checklist by  Those of you who are regulars around my blog know that I tweak everything I touch, and I am still tweaking this to work with my family.  I am happy to share where we are in the process, but I will probably continue to make changes as I see a need arise. 

First off, I am an only child and need all the help I can get when it comes to sibling rivalry!  Honestly, with all the books I've read, I just don't get it.  Sometimes I just want to yell at the top of my lungs, "Why can't you all just be friends??!!"  Furthermore, I have talked to so many adult friends that don't have close relationships with their sibs and I want so much more for my kids.  Anyway, the relationships in the family are not only the first our kids encounter but the most important (after God).  I feel that one of my most important jobs is teaching my children to live, love, and learn to interact with a large variety of people, no matter whether they are easy or difficult to care about.  God has provided me with four children in which several have difficult  distinctly different personalities to deal with, so we have lots of opportunities for practice.  I started noticing a few weeks ago that there was a lot more arguing in my home. When I examined more closely what was going on, 75% of it was linked to tattling and being inflexible to others' needs and wants.  In other words, my children were being children and putting themselves first in everything and looking for every opportunity to get their siblings into trouble. (My big teen would like me to point out that I am mostly referring to the younger three -- 6, 5, and 3 years old.)

I really like the Brother Offended Program because it is Bible-based and gives the children (and Mom) a visual step-by-step guide on how to resolve a conflict.  It also points out that both parties in a conflict carry responsibility for the conflict.  How often have we as parents been caught starting to admonish a child for misconduct and then discovered that the tattler did something wrong as well?  So how do I use it?  Every morning I review the chart with the kids, and we do a few common role-playing situations that may arise in a given day.  I read to them one of the Bible passages from the chart while they color a page that I've found on the Internet that most closely matches the subject.  Example #2 on the chart is Remove the plank from your own eye first with the Bible passage Matthew 7:1.  This is a huge issue in our home.  Then as many times as possible during the day, I help them run through the steps on the chart when a problem arises.  I am treating this like potty training a child -- it is my main focus during the day. The hope is within a short time they will resolve most issues diplomatically on their own.  If an issue cannot be resolved, they can go to the authority (Mom and Dad) to resolve it for them.  However, everyone involved will have to take responsibility for their actions once they are in front of me for judgment.

One funny thing from yesterday -- I heard a fight break out across the room and stood up with the chart in hand.  One daughter quickly handed the disputed toy to the other and said, "Stop crying, Mom is coming with the chart and then we will miss out on play time."  LOL...  Of course I want them to resolve these issues, because they have willing and kind hearts, not just because Mom is coming, but this is a start!

If you have more questions or I haven't explained this well, just let me know.  I can't really read this over and see how much sense it makes since the natives are restless.  They think they are supposed to get breakfast in the morning!  REALLY!




  1. I've never even heard of this but we have the same problem. I am going to check it out. I always tell my kids, "You will know each other longer than anyone else in the whole world. You better make it work." It took me a long time to really connect with my sister. It really is work...

  2. That is interesting.

    I wonder if it would work for my girls. They are 13 and 7 and I always think that, being so far apart in age, that they should get along better. But, they have their moments, that's for sure.

    Thanks for sharing what you're doing to resolve conflict,


  3. I am so glad you mentioned this. I actually have this, but I had forgotten about it as I bought it when I only had a couple of little toddlers---anticipating the future. The next time we move I'm going to have to locate it.

    Take heart too, my four sound just like yours. We seem to be in the same boat. Praise God we have resources to help make sense of it all :)



  4. Oh, that comment was priceless. My children know that if I have to come and resolve a problem, they will not like the outcome, so many times when I say "do I need to come in there?" They say no and get over it. Good luck in your plans. I hope it works, keep us posted.

  5. My boys are almost 7 and 3 1/2 although the 3 1/2 year old thinks he's 7 and wants to be treated that way. Do you think this chart would work for these ages? I peeked at the website you posted, do you have any of the other charts? We are stuggling with the bickering....a lot. It consumes a lot of my day, trying to resolve conflict. Yesterday I realized I hold my older son way more accountable and I am quick to put the blame on him because he is older. There was a fight over the door and I jumped in to scold my older son who then burst into tears because "I was trying to stop him from putting his fingers in the door" I felt bad and realized something has to change.

  6. My kids got along great all the early homeschooling years when other kids were fighting. Life took some turns and they were briefly, and with a lot of regret, put in school (2 months at the end of one year, one full year, and about half the next year). It changed EVERYTHING. I kept thinking that when we returned to homeschooling that after a brief period of re-adapting that it would all come round right again... it never did. Something was planted they never recovered from. My daughter (the eldest) was the worse and her second brother still has hard feelings about it (forgives but doesn't want to be around it now that she moved away to continue her education).

    This was hard for me on so many levels. The first was that I really WANTED them to be a strong family for each other and know they could count on each other. (The boys have this, currently sans the elder sister.) The second was that I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I wasn't an only child per se, but my brothers were scattered elsewhere and we had so little time together. I grew up wishing my brothers could live with me the way other siblings lived together -- and when we DID have time together we cherished it and NEVER fought. Of course, if I lecture my kids about this, especially dd, it just hit home. "Oh MOM... we're siblings, we fight..." And I don't want to hear that anymore than they wanted my lectures. I still have hope there will be more healing with dd -- praise God you have the opportunity to work on it more now and the wisdom to do so striving for Biblical perspective & to not just let it slide.

    Prayers & Blessings!

  7. I bought this back in May at our homeschool bookfair and I need to get it out and use it! I too love the fact that it is bible based and my boys will not argue with God's word. I have a feeling my boys will say the same thing when I come toward them with the chart. Too funny!