Siblings 101

Maybe your older sister is your best friend forever and always lets you share her amazing clothes. Maybe your brother doesn’t tease you like it’s his job.

If this sounds like your family dynamic, keep reading. If this doesn’t sound like your family dynamic at all, keep reading.

1. Ask Yourself What You Want

It might sound weird to begin with this, but the fact of the matter is that it’s up to you. Do you want to have a great relationship with your sister? Yes, she hogs the curling iron and the outlets and the TV and the cocoa pebbles, but is she still sometimes worth the pain? The answer may most certainly be yes.

Your siblings are people with which you can develop extraordinarily close relationships. Sometimes, because of their proximity in age, they understand you even better than your parents.

At other times, you may come to the conclusion that one of your siblings is toxic for you. If they belittle you endlessly or hurt you and don’t stop after repeatedly confronting them, it may be the healthy choice not to pursue the relationship. If that is the case, then you may also want to learn how to minimize fights and painful interactions by seeking help from your parents or other sources.

2. Invest in Your Relationships

Try to spend one-on-one time with each of your siblings. Spending an entire day with them outside of your home will allow you to discover the different sides you never knew they had and become closer.

3. Understand That It’s Normal to Have Ups & Downs

If you live with somebody your whole life and you never fight, you either ignore each other completely or have no relationship. The reason we sometimes fight with our siblings is because we’re so comfortable with them.

Sibling 2

4. Pick Your Battles Wisely

Some things are just stupid to fight about with family. Here are some occasions that are simply not worth it: Who cheated during monopoly. Political opinions. Your sister’s dreadful outfit.

5. Think Rationally

The easiest thing to do is to get caught up in emotion. “SHE STOLE MY SWEATER AGAIN!” “HE ALWAYS EATS LIKE A PIG!” It’s incredibly easy to just start fighting like crazy. But we implore you to take 3 seconds before you jump into full-on World War III and think if it’s really worth it. It will go one of two ways:

A. You will start screaming and then you’ll end up with scars on your hand that you’ll have until you’re 90. Will it be worth telling your grandkids that you have that scar because your sister ate the last spoon of Nutella?

B. You will remain with an even composure and not yell back. If someone is yelling at you and you do not respond, there’s nothing they can do but calm down or go away. Also you’ll save yourself the anger and frustration.

6. Focus on Your Feelings

Parents have favorites. Bossy older siblings can be a pain. Annoying younger siblings don’t stop getting on your nerves. Now, there are helpful ways to deal with all of these situations: Discuss your feelings with your parents – they probably won’t admit they have a favorite but they’ll most likely try to do better. Bossy older siblings can also be managed by simply saying one word: “Yes.” You know what that means? You’re 100% right. “I should never wear these slacks again? Totally.” Guess what, you don’t have to listen. You just don’t have to argue and fight. You can wear those slacks every day and there’s nothing they can do. Annoying younger siblings can be promised a chocolate bar or two and after you’re nice and introduce them to your friends they probably won’t be bugging for your attention.

All of these situations are normal and what matters is how they affect you. Do you feel good after fighting? Do you feel like a better person when you don’t seek revenge for every tiny misstep? Those are the things that matter. Aim to focus on building beneficial relationships that add to your health and happiness.

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