Sometimes brothers and sisters act in a caring manner and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they tell on one another, and sometimes they defend one another. In order for there to be peace in a household, parents must constantly foster a family culture where brothers and sisters care deeply about one another.
In this week’s Torah parsha there is tremendous strife between Joseph and his brothers. Jacob, their father, clearly plays favorites and gives Joseph a multi-colored coat to signify his love for Joseph. Joseph fuels the tension created by this favoritism by telling on his brothers.
Sometimes it’s difficult for children not to feel that their parents favor one child over another, especially if one child is effortlessly successful while other siblings might have a more difficult time achieving in their own lives. We can create an environment where each child flourishes and feels loved by focusing on a child’s uniqueness and achievements, given his capacities. While siblings cannot help but compare themselves to one another, the more they feel loved for who they are, the more they will thrive and be able to care genuinely for their siblings, no matter how successful.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about Joseph and his problems with sibling rivalry.
Connect to their lives:
- What do you like best about your brother or sister?
- What do you like least?
- What helps you get along with your brothers and sisters?
- Do we work at appreciating the special qualities of ALL in our family?
By Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses
Values & Ethics: Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.