Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Dear Going Insane,
Your question about bow to stop sibling rivalry is an excellent one. First of all we have to realize that sharing is a socialist concept and not a Biblical concept. When all things must be shared then what you get is only what you grab.
God started with ownership, responsibility for what was owned and then a choice of generosity to others from that ownership. Adam and Eve were given the Garden, animals and even the world itself. They tried to share it with Satan and he took the whole thing. God established boundaries for Israel as a nation, as tribes and as individual families. He required that land that was sold was returned at Jubilee years and stated in Deuteronomy 19:14 not to remove the ancient boundary marks of the land inheritance. This is repeated by Solomon in Proverbs 22:28.
So to stop sibling rivalry give ownership of every toy in the house. Write the name of the owner on the toy with a Sharpie. Others must ask the owner permission to play with the toy and the owner has the right to say no without reprimand from parents. Don’t you have the right to determine who may come into your house or who may drive your car?
After ownership is established teach the principle and choice of generosity. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and it shall be given unto you...” The concept of choosing from the heart to be generous is very different from being forced to share and there is reward that comes with it. We found at our ranch that the “Ranch Truck” which was shared by all staff always got beat to pieces, was filthy with trash and the tank was usually empty. What belongs to everybody is cared for by nobody. When Lew stablished that he owned the truck and staff must borrow it from him they were suddenly more careful not to bang and scratch the bed and fenders. Trash was cleaned out and the gas tank was filled.
Ownership also requires responsibility. A toy left on the floor when the children were told to clean up the room is the responsibility of the owner whose name is on it and they receive any consequences associated with any disobedience involved. Ownership also applies to how children keep their rooms and how they treat the rooms owned by their parents such as their parents’ bedroom and the bathroom when they are using it.
Knocking on doors and getting permission to enter can start at a very early age and these boundaries actually keep peace in the home and proper privacy for the parents. Parenting is difficult but it doesn’t have to be ghastly! Boundaries of ownership help immensely! One mother told me “you may have single handedly saved my sanity.” Try it you’ll like the results!