When older siblings have friends over, and the younger kids want to be involved, what do you do?
This is kind of complex. We have several things happening at once and we have opportunity to train each group of kids, the younger and the older ones.
In our home when friends are over you are not allowed to exclude your siblings. At the sametime, when your siblings have friends over you are not allowed to just jump in and cause a problem. It is about honoring one another.
As mom, I am quick to ask the older kids to include the younger ones and yet I try to be sensitive that after they have included them for about 30 minutes I pull them out and allow the older kids to play on their own. It is a give on both sides. The older kids learning to include everyone and the younger ones learning that there are times they will not get to do EVERYTHING.
Often after getting just a few minutes with the older kids the younger ones are quite content to go play on their own. NOW, there are definite moments in which a meltdown occurs. When they are asked to stop and play on their own if they lose it we have another opportunity to teach, train and guide them into right response. A mom's job is never done! If the older ones put up a stink about having to include their siblings we announce that it is a privilege to have friends over and next time they will not be allowed to come, OR I can send them home right now!
The lessons I want them to learn...
- God never excludes anyone, we are to love everyone, even if they are younger.
- Every person brings value into life, even our siblings.
If the older kids are allowed to see children as a bother/problem that thought will follow them for years to come. I hope that one day when they are a teen, young adult, and parent they will see all children as special as God sees them.
- Life isn't about everything being even and fair. God cares much more about our responses than what we get! A good lesson to learn while they are young is that you accept what is given and learn to be thankful in the process.
Often when our kids have friends over they have learned to start off with an activity for everyone and then they will get a chance to play on their own. I love watching them include their siblings without MOM having to demand it. It doesn't always happen that way but it is happening much more often than not. I see our teens out and they are very accepting of others that cross their paths. They VALUE Gods creation! I see our younger kids understand that not all things are for them to do. They learn God allows different things for different people.
As the years have gone by and we have had to constantly work at right thoughts, behaviors, and actions, there is something so sweet in seeing 30 kids in your home from college to birth and see them all interact together verses each running off with their own age group! Our children know our days are full of working around the little ones but at some point in the day they will get their time for their thing too.