Reclaiming 'No, Thank You'

My girls were squabbling again. Sometimes, it seems like that's all they do. That sisterly love thing seems to get lost more often than it gets put into practice. And I've had just about enough.

I know that siblings argue. I know that there were times I couldn't stand to be in the same room with my brother, but when the picking on each other and fighting becomes more habit than anything else, it's time to figure out how to put a stop to it.

After watching my girls for a week, I've come to the conclusion that they have lost the art of saying "no, thank you." When they were little, we had a rule that if someone said "no, thank you," you had to stop whatever you were doing that was annoying them. This applied to adults and kids alike. It worked really well, but somewhere along the way, the girls forgot and I stopped enforcing the rule.

We're going back to that rule this week."No, thank you" is just about the perfect phrase for family squabbles. It allows our kids to say no to their siblings or friends while still respecting the other person. It's much better than screeching "No!" or yelling "Stop it!" Both of which I've heard far too often in the past few months.

It also teaches our kids to live up to God's instruction in Romans 12:18, which says, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We want to teach our kids to solve conflict in a way that respects others but still allows them to stand up for themselves. I certainly don't want to raise girls who are doormats, but I also don't want them screeching at each other every time they're frustrated with each other.

"No, thank you" allows my girls to express their displeasure while thanking the other person in advance for stopping. It offers them a chance to stand up for themselves without disrespecting another person.

So, this week, we're reclaiming "no, thank you" as an important phrase in our family's vocabulary. If you've got squabbling siblings, you might try it, too.

Don't miss our December series, 25 Days of Giving, which will be chock full of practical ideas of ways to get your kids focused on giving to others this Christmas season. And if you're looking for a good read for the month of December check out my Everyday Christmas e-book, a 24-day devotional full of easy ideas to keep your family focused on Jesus this Christmas.