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Coping With Sibling Conflicts

Author: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 9 November 2012 | commentsComment
 
Sibling Conflict sibling Rivalry

Conflicts with your siblings are unavoidable. Close quarters, clashing personalities and competing interests mean that not only will sibling conflicts occur, but they will probably occur fairly consistently. If you find that you spend a great amount of your time at home bickering with you sisters, bothering your brothers or fighting with them both, then it's time you learn how to cope with sibling conflict.

Find the Root Cause

Sibling conflicts always have a root cause. That is not to say that all of the causes are justifiable, but it's important to know why a conflict has occurred. Often when teenagers fight it can be for petty reasons, but there is also the chance that something deeper is occurring under the surface. If it seems like your siblings are always picking a fight with you, investigate if:

  • They are bored.
  • They are hungry or tired, both of which will make them irritable.
  • They feel competitive with you.
  • They are feeling lonely or in need of attention.
  • They are still too young to be mature and logical.
  • They are having a hard time at school, with their friends or in a relationship.
  • They still bear a grudge from a past argument.
  • They don't understand your habits or preferences.
  • They have suffered through a recent traumatic event.

Avoid Future Conflicts

Frequent fighting can sap your energy and put you in a bad mood. To avoid future conflicts with your siblings:

  • Be the bigger person. Sidestep remarks or actions that are meant to open a fight.
  • Ignore patronising or teasing behaviour.
  • Find a hobby that you can carry out alone and away from the risk of fighting.
  • Get out of the house if you feel an argument coming on.
  • Offer to involve your siblings in your plans, if they can behave appropriately.
  • Open an honest discussion with your siblings. See if anything is bothering them.
  • Enlist the aid of your parents or another trusted adult if you are worried.

Resolving Sibling Conflicts

Even despite your best efforts, conflicts with you siblings will still occur so when they do, resolve your arguments in a timely manner and let everyone move on with their lives. Remember to:

  • Learn to compromise. No one likes to feel like the loser.
  • Let it end. Don't tease or taunt when an argument is meant to be finished.
  • Remain calm. Nothing productive will be achieved by yelling or slamming doors.
  • Remove yourself before an argument can become violent.
  • Know what you want. If you don't want to achieve something, then why are you fighting?
  • Ask someone outside of the conflict to mediate. Agree to follow their decision.
  • Not bear a grudge. Nothing will ever be solved if you must revisit a past argument all the time.
Dealing with your siblings can be frustrating and tiring, but it must be done if you want any sort of peace when you are at home. Think about them like roommates, and realise that resolving arguments with your siblings will be good practice for the future. Most fights can be sorted by remaining calm and rational, but if they can't, consider investing a good set of earphones to block everything else out!

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