How to Teach Your Children to Live in Harmony

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Parenting | 8 comments

Harmony. The word reminds us of pleasant music and happy relationships. Today, friend and author Karen Whiting introduces her new book Growing a Mother’s Heart and offers tips on how to teach our children how to live in harmony with one another.

Here’s Karen…


Moms love it when their children play in harmony and get along. When fights disrupt the peace, or they resist cooperating with rules and family life, strife abounds. Paul urged the family of God, the people in Philippi, to live in harmony and provided some keys for that.

He urged two women Euodia and Syntche to get along. We don’t know the problem, but the names provide clues. Euodia means good journey and Syntche means fortunate or blessed. Two women in different paths. One is traveling a road called good. I can imagine it’s a hard journey, a struggle that God will use for good. The one blessed may be thinking, “How long will this last before I have a new struggle” or, “She may be having it tough but she’s out there working for the Lord and he is using her.” It’ the old comparison game, and not rejoicing or empathizing with others. It’s also not trusting that God has each of u right where he wants us to be at the moment.

How do we translate this into mothering our children? One way is to model it in life, and another is to express joy and compassion for each child. The best model is with both parents. My husband and I agreed we’d lift one another up with respect and love. So, if a child said something negative about my husband, I’d say, “That’s the man I love and wanted to be your daddy.” I’d add something connected with the remark. My husband did the same. We also chose to rejoice for each other and to be content for our own position. I met his arrival home with a smile and mention some adventure we had that day. He hugged me and said he couldn’t wait to hear our news. Then after the children gushed about the day, I asked him to share his journey.

Let the concept be with the children. Avoid comparisons and encourage each. I took time to praise each child for the toy being used and ask what else they could do with it. That often kept them engrossed in their toys. When one complained or wanted what another had, I reminded them that they would get a turn but for now they could watch, applaud what the sibling did, and think of what to do when they had a turn.

When my children started to compare portions as I tried hard to divide a dessert evenly, I chose to respond in a way to get their eyes on their own treat. I said to my daughter, “I would not want you to lie and comparing portions is not kind. I tried to give everyone the same amount. So, I will take a scoop of yours and give it to your brother. Now let’s enjoy what we each has on our own plate.” Another day I said, “Your daddy had a hard week, so I am giving him some of my dessert. He needs a little extra sweetness for working hard to provide so much for us.” That led to children sharing more and ended comparisons in our home. It helped everyone focus on spreading joy over complaints.

My younger daughter uses a different approach. When anyone starts to grumble, she yells out, “What is this day?” They sing back, “The day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice in it.” Then she yells, “What are you rejoicing about?” They take turns giving reasons to rejoice and let go of the grumbling. It refocuses them.

This works. As adults, our children have been great supporters of one another. My oldest daughter dropped everything to go and watch her brother’s children when his wife needed surgery. In turn that son helped a younger sister when she had car trouble and paid for new tires since she had money problems. They were all happy to see one help another as they could and to fill needs. They all spent time before their dad died visiting, helped as they could, and understood we would pay expenses for anyone who asked for travel money. No one counted dollars but rejoiced at whoever was able to spend time with their dad. He felt so thankful that they came and showed harmony.

Fostering harmony starts when children are little and continues as we consider how to best help, rejoice, and lend support to one another as we are able to do so.

What’s your favorite tip for bringing harmony? Click here to comment.

Karen Whiting introduces her new book Growing a Mother’s Heart and offers tips on how to teach our children how to live in harmony. #parentingskills Click To Tweet

Karen Whiting writes and speaks to help families thrive and build lasting bonds. Her new release and twenty-seventh book is titled Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. She also enjoys family adventure including riding a camel in the Canary Islands, Scuba diving off Bermuda’s coast, white water rafting in Australia.


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By Karen Whiting

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  1. Ann J Musico

    I absolutely love these tips and can honestly say when my children were young we did very similar things. When I was in the middle of doing homework with one or something else, I always dropped everything to go open the garage for my husband, welcome him home and my kids knew as soon as they heard his car in the garage, mom would go welcome dad. I see them prioritizing their spouses and I love seeing that. My kids have gone out of their way to help each other as they became adults so I am grateful they live in harmony with each other. I’ve always prayed they would be each other’s best friends and I believe they are.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, what a beautiful testimony. I believe what we do demonstrates more than what we say. Love this!

  2. Rebecca White

    When there is lots of unhappy noise in the house we try to let everyone have a few minutes to themselves to refocus before coming back together. a few minutes alone seems to settle down the disunity.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Rebecca, that is an excellent idea. Sometimes we need the break to refocus. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Melissa Henderson

    This is a great book. Wonderful to give as a gift, too.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Melissa, for adding your recommendation!

  4. J.D. Wininger

    Wow! We’re talking “Mom of the Year” stuff here. My mama, when us teenage boys would start getting too rowdy, would head for the broom closet. She grabbed the broom handle a few times, but cold never get past the big smile stage. Wonderful tips. I loved how you showed your support for the spouse in your example.

  5. Jeanne Takenaka

    Our two sons are seventeen-months apart, and sibling rivalry has always been a significant part of their relationship. I love all your tips here, and it’s beautiful to read how your children continue to live out the lessons from childhood now that they’re adults.

    And I agree with JD Wininger. The way you showed support for your spouse is a powerful message in itself.

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