Children of Seperation and Divorce Center, Inc. / Columbia: 410-740-9553
Relationships with brothers and sisters can be tricky. Most kids say that one minute they love their sibling and the next minute they are so angry they feel like they hate them. Siblings may argue over rules, chores, space, personal belongings, time on the phone and of course, rough-housing.
The next time you are ready to pick a fight or tell on your sibling though, think about this... Your relationship with your siblings will most likely be among the longest relationships of your life! Who else has known you since you were born and may someday grow to old age with you?
Here are some suggestions for making that very important relationship with a brother or sister the best that it can be.
Focus on the positive! Have you ever been around someone who only notices negative attributes of a person? Itís not too fun. Focusing on the negative aspects of a person or relationship can keep you feeling pretty bad about the other person. Some examples of negative thinking are, "She is such a baby!' or "Why does he
have to make such a big deal about losing?" Look at the flip side of every negative aspect of your sibling with thoughts like, "She is a little young for that game.' or "Itís not easy for anyone to lose."
Respect each otherís personal space. In other words, do not touch the other person if they do not want to be touched. Getting in each otherís space is one of the most common reasons for arguments between siblings.
Treat the other person the way you would like to be treated.
It is right and fair to do so. Over time, you may find that your sibling will begin to treat you in a more respectful manner as well.
Healing Hearts/ Volume 2, Issue 6 / Page 2 of 3
angry when you go in my closet without my permission."
Ask for help.
If all else fails, ask for help from mom or dad. They will be much more likely to take your request seriously if you only ask after you have tried to work it out yourself.
Pick your battles. Not everything has to turn into a big fight. You get to choose when you want to make a big deal over something and when you want to let go of it. Your whole family will benefit from less fighting between siblings.
Talk it out. If you do have a recurring problem with your sibling that you would really like to change, try talking it out. Remember to choose a calm time to talk when both of you are able to focus on the problem. Remind your sibling of how solving this problem would be beneficial for both of you. Pointing out the benefits might go something like this: "If you would stay out of my closet when I am not around, I think we would fight a lot less. I feel really
Have a private place to get some time to yourself. Respect when your siblings need their space too by giving them time alone.
My younger brother is driving me nuts! I really think that both my mom and dad care more about him than they do about me. They say that he is more easy-going and that he doesnít get as upset as easily as I do. It seems like whenever we get in a fight, which is a lot, my dad will pick his side. What should I do?
K.L. Columbia, MD
Thank you for writing about this really important topic. Kids and parents everywhere can empathize with your problem:
sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalry is a kind of competition that happens between brothers and sisters. It can range from very mild, occasional arguments to more hurtful, damaging fights that happen very often. Your situation sounds pretty tough. The first and most important issue for you to address is your feeling like your parents love your brother more. It does sound like they have been making some comments comparing your personalities, which is hurtful and unfair to you. During a calm time when you are alone with your mom or your dad, let them know specifically which statements are hurtful and
ask them to please not compare you with your brother. Try an "I" statement, I feel _____when you _____. I need ________. If you are worried about trying this conversation, enlist the support of a caring relative or counselor to help you. It is important enough to give it a try.
10 Fun Things to do with your brothers and sistersÖ
Watch a movie
Play with your pet
Rebecca, age 16 draws a pattern that has evolved at her home of family members taking frustrations out on each other. Rebecca has made some changes just by becoming aware of what she was doing. Now, she says, "I go to the coffee shop with my friends when I feel angry."
Continued on page two.
Reprinted from Good Apple, 1992
"Share" By Heather, age 6. Heather has learned to share with her two sisters talking with her parents after and argument and figuring out how to avoid the argument next time.