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  1. Such a great article to make me take a step back and evaluate now that my boys are 11 and 15. When they were younger and didn’t get along, I would ‘take away brother privileges’, which meant if they were not being nice to each other, then they lost the ‘privilege’ of playing together. And it worked like a charm (plus a bonus was that it’s super cute to hear little kids saying ‘brother privileges’)! They would beg to be allowed to hang out again. As they got older (and might have been more inclined to be ok with being told they couldn’t be together – especially the teenager!), I sometimes (jokingly), take their hands and walk them to a room together and ask them to stay in there until they figure out how to resolve whatever they were arguing about. Because we all think this tactic is kind of funny (and they can unite in being annoyed at me and my ‘cringy’ ideas!), it lightens the mood, but they know that I’m stubborn and will stick with this plan until there’s peace again :). I’ve noticed that everything seems to be a phase with kids – both the good times and the more difficult times. It’s definitely hard to keep perspective when we’re in an arguing phase, that’s for sure! Thanks for these articles and the community they build – it’s so helpful to read tips from others and know we’re not alone!

    1. I love this, Dina! Thank you so much for sharing. Sounds to me like you’ve done an awesome job! Blessings!

  2. Tania Kallish says:

    My boys have a fairly big age gap (6 years) and sometimes that is hard. They seem to fluctuate between being best friends and just not getting along at all! We are all working as a family to find that balance between them learning to get along when together and taking some needed space when that seems to be the best answer. It’s something I pray for constantly, that they become great friends and not just brothers.

    1. Thank you Tania! Sounds like you’re doing everything right! Keep it up…Sometimes won’t know til later all the good that is happening! 🙂 Blessings!

  3. I’m so glad I found this post Monica! I have two boys that are 7 and 5. They are currently sharing a room without any issues, but figured the day would come where they wanted their own room as they enter their teens. We live in a 3 bedroom home and we have recently been discussing expanding our family. I’ve always wanted 3 kids. I just worry that the younger sibling getting their own room will cause animosity with the older two in the long run.
    I am very torn on this decision because of it. Any words of advice would be appreciated.

  4. As a homeschooling mom to four young boys, I found this incredibly encouraging! Thank you!!

    1. SO happy to hear that! Thank you Jacee! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  5. Love your article! I started crying a few lines above where you wrote “ insert mom tears” and it wasn’t because I was sad it was because I was so happy almost relieved. My boys are best friends. They are 8 and 11 and we share about 95% of all you wrote in how you raise your family. I recently started to worry that my sons great relationship with one another is hurting their outside friendships. Especially for the older one, but deep down I know that “brothers are forever.” My older sons has plenty of friends but some of them are so focused on being with each other all the time but my son who would prefer to hang out with his brother 75% of the time and is starting to get left out. But I don’t want to force him to always be with friends when I feel that his family relationship is great!
    So thank you for helping me remember why we do what we do and don’t do what so many people do in this day and age. It’s nice to hear that my family isn’t the outsider.

    1. Aw, thank you Lori. Yes, it sounds to me like you’re doing great! 🙂 Keep it up and enjoy it all! Much aloha-

  6. Pingback: Shared Boys Room
  7. I am so excited to have found your blog! I really enjoy reading about your family and their experiences. We are a homeschool family with 2 boys. Our oldest son will be in 9th grade next year and I was wondering if you would share some tips on how Josiah kept himself organized through high school.

    Thank you and God bless,

    1. Thank you Theresa!! I’m so glad you found my blog too! 😉 Great question…Organization is definitely a personality thing, but can absolutely be learned. Josiah happens to be fairly Type A, but his younger brother Jonah (a Jr. in High school) has truly taught himself to be organized. I think a big key is just that they see the benefit. Sometimes that takes a few hard lessons — losing things, missing apt.s etc, but if you talk them through things they may be open. Otherwise just giving your son some suggestions on what he can do, and even if he doesn’t implement it right away, he may come back to it later. All the best to you!! aloha-

  8. Regan Nix says:

    Thank you!!!
    I needed this today badly!! I’m a wife and homeschool momma of 2boys and 2girls. They share rooms and the rule is you can’t treat your friends better than your siblings. Hard to follow sometimes but I know it will be worth it in the end.
    My boys are a little over 5 years apart, 16 and almost 11. This has been a hard season. Big brother is so cool and little brother wants to be like big brother and is so annoying!! But at the end of the day God put the 6 of us under one roof for a reason. Someday they will all see the blessing.
    Last family vacation we went to Florida and spent a week playing in he ocean, ate lots of donuts, and riding bikes together. It was so fun to have an activity we could all do together.
    Spend the money and do it!!

  9. Kelly Scott says:

    My boys are 19 and 21. They played High School basketball and baseball together. They also love to hunt deer. I always refer to them as “the brothers”. This past summer they recently moved into a house we helped them buy. They remodeled the entire the house. They live together. I still refer to them as “the brothers”. Their sibling (a sister) misses them like crazy.
    They are 3 miles away! I LOVE their bond & your blog. ❤️❤️😉

    1. Oh that is just so encouraging!! What a great story! (you’ve probably read that my little guy always refers to his big brothers as simply “the brothers.” I love it!) I’d be thrilled if my boys moved into a home 3 miles from home! 🙂
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! aloha-

  10. We have always taught that our boys are each others’ best friends! However, this happens very naturally for my oldest two (14 and 12) but their younger brother (9) is often the “odd man out” (both figuratively and literally!) His personality is very different from his older brothers (they are introverted where he is extroverted AND loves to be the “class clown” in our home-school!) They often find him “annoying” and push him away, which of course leads to more of his crazy antics to get their attention and the cycle continues! Ugh!! We have tried talking to them about being tolerant of people who are made different from ourselves (personality and more) and even made them all share a room for a whole year last year (trying to force the older 2 to “include” the youngest brother in their talking/sharing/playing/etc.) Sadly, I do not see much change in their hearts toward the youngest brother, and I’m not sure what else to do. I appreciate your post and will prayerfully continue to train and instruct all three of these boys God has given me!

  11. Oh, how I LOVE this article! My boys are little-6,4, & 1. Thank you for pointing out the importance of sharing a room AND of never allowing a friend to come in between brothers!

    If I was fighting with my siblings when I was younger, I was not allowed to have any friends over until we genuinely made up! My mom told us that siblings are for life, just as you mentioned in this article.

    I’m 34 now, and my sister is my best friend. And that allows for our children (cousins) to be close friends too.

  12. Very sweet observations on your sons’ relationship with one another. You and your husband have done a most excellent job rearing them well.
    Hope you’re having fun in WA with your parents, they must relish their time with all the boys together. Eat lots of apples, in its every form!

  13. Hi Monica! Thanks for the post – you always manage to write about things that are so practical! I also am a homeschooling mom of 4 athletic boys (though being from WI surfing is sadly not among our specialties). 😉 One of the simple things I used to do for my boys when they seemed to be stuck in a bickering rut is make the offending parties sit on the floor and hold hands. That’s it. I’d usually put a timer on for 5 minutes and wait for the giggling and play to ensue, it was very rare that their giggles didn’t precede the timer. Once they were giggling away we would talk about the importance of a joyful heart and the appropriate way to treat one another. Worked nearly every time & saved me time (they always seem to know the most inconvenient time to not get along) and the emotion of having rounds of correction. I’m thankful to say that by God’s grace they truly are best buddies.

  14. I love this post. My kiddos argue so much, and oh, the tattling! But they are still young and I have hope that deep friendships will come. I see glimpses. Like when one is gone and the others say that they miss him. Love that!

  15. I am so encouraged by this post! My two boys are not best friends, but get along better than many brothers . We have our moments, but it is mostly happy! Thanks for the tips as I encourage them to grow even closer- one of my greatest wishes.

  16. Tammie Hodgson says:

    Thank you for this post. I am wondering how you deal with the situations of teasing, or siding with friends when it does happen. We feel the same way, but are always looking for ideas of how to handle those instances. I typically resort to having them write verses, an apology letter, or a page of why the actions are not God honoring.

    1. Tammie Hodgson says:

      Sorry Monica,
      I just realized that you already answered this question. Thank you for the guidance.

      1. No worries Tammie–I did respond to someone in comments, but when I can I will add a few thoughts in the post! 🙂 Sounds to me like you’ve found a few creative ideas on your own. 😉 Well done!! Much aloha–

  17. I’m struggling a lot with my two oldest. A boy (9) and a girl (7). Their personalities are polar opposites. They struggle to find things they both want to do together. I can tell my daughter wants to be close to him; she is always the one to compromise. My son is constantly pestering her. He refuses to give her a hug after family prayer. He is the only boy with three younger sisters. My son and his friends are constantly playing tricks on her that make her upset. I’ve started grounding them from friends simply to force them to spend time together. In your post you mentioned that when brother sides with a friend over a brother you deal with it swiftly, can you give more detail in how you deal with that? My son seems to do that a lot and I’m struggling to know how to handle it. Thank you for this post!!

    1. Oh I’m sorry Amber–that is so hard. And of course your son is in a tough position too. I would begin by talking to him in a good moment (you’ve probably done that, but always start there. ;)) Perhaps ask him what he is feeling, what is behind his treatment of his sister. If he feels safe and opens up honestly there could be some jealousy, or irritation, or something that he is wrestling with. Then I would let him know how much this means to you–how important it is in your family that he and his sister get along and never turn on one another. As for dealign with things “swiftly”, that will depend on your method of discipline. For me, I would go to whatever I use in the more extreme cases of discipline. Making it absolutely not worth it for him to enjoy any momentary pleasure of turning against his sister. Taking something away, grounding, nasty chores, spanking, whatever you do. I would classify this as a serious one and not let him even look at it as an option. Perhaps some books or movies would inspire him to rise up to the point of seeing himself as a protector of his sister…Let him learn to treat her as a gentleman would…etc. It’s all good talking points and it may take time. I was picked on plenty by my big bro and we are good friends now, so I am confident your situation will work out, but i would not give up too soon on making these better sooner than later!! 😉 Much aloha and keep me posted!

  18. Melissa Chimento says:

    I Love this post-i testify- there is so much friendship with your 4 boys- i hope we all catch the vision and that remember brothers are forever- thanks Monica

    1. Thank you so much Melissa. And as you know, your boys have inspired MY boys!! 😉 XO

  19. Bonita Emerson says:

    When I was seeing my brother [2years older than me] preparing to be independent, it was strange for me, like, I remember thinking to myself, what am I going to be doing when I get to that age? It takes time to get ready and deal with it. Once again, that’s what I’m dealing with, with my 18 year old now-trying to slowly prepare him, he needs to learn his own confidence, mine as well-to let go-haha.

  20. This is something I have prayed and prayed for for my children. I agree with your ideas above and we do most of these things, but really, praying almost daily for this relationship for them has been the key! I am just starting to see it come to fruition and I am excited to see what more sibling love is to come 😉

  21. Love, love, love this!!! My girls fight so much and I often worry that they will never learn to get along and be friends! This gives me hope! Thanks for sharing Monica!! ❤️

  22. It’s one of my big hopes that my boys will be each other’s best friend when they are adults. Neither my husband or I are close to our siblings, and not by choice, so my kids can’t learn by example or experience great family get togethers.

  23. Oh my! Four boys must have been a challenge to maintain their friendships and the possible fighting. All are good suggestions. However, I did have a rule, that they had to keep their hands to themselves and their words couldn’t tear the other down. I had to step in and re-adjust some relationships. However, overall, they worked them out and are close.

  24. Katie Bering says:

    I love how with boys the hugging picture always manages to turn into the wrestling picture. 🙂