“The best worst friends”
Siblings have been called “the best worst friends you’ll ever have.” You love them, and they love you—but sometimes you just can’t seem to get along. “My younger brother annoys me,” says 18-year-old Helena. “He knows exactly which buttons to push and when to push them to get the biggest rise out of me!”
Some sibling conflicts can be solved with simple communication and negotiation skills. For example:
Two brothers who share a room might argue over privacy. The solution? Learn to compromise and allow each other needed space. Apply the Bible principle found at Luke 6:31.
Two sisters might “borrow” each other’s clothing items without asking. The solution? Talk it out and set reasonable boundaries. Apply the Bible principle found at 2 Timothy 2:24.
In some cases, problems between siblings are more serious and can have severe consequences. Consider two examples from the Bible:
Miriam and Aaron were jealous of their brother, Moses, with tragic results. Read the account at Numbers 12:1-15. Then ask yourself: ‘How can I keep from being jealous of my sibling?’
Cain’s anger grew to the point that he murdered his brother Abel. Read the account at Genesis 4:1-12. Then ask yourself: ‘How can I control my anger when dealing with my brother or sister?’
Two reasons to make peace
No matter how hard it is to get along with your siblings, there are at least two reasons why it’s worth the effort.
It’s a sign of maturity. “I used to have a short fuse with my two younger sisters,” says a young man named Alex. “Now I’m much more calm and patient with them. You could say I’ve grown up.”
The Bible says: “The one who is slow to anger has great discernment, but the impatient one displays his foolishness.”—Proverbs 14:29.
It’s good training for the future. If you can’t tolerate the imperfections of your siblings, how will you deal with a spouse, a workmate, an employer, or anyone else you have to interact with?
Fact of life: The success of your future relationships will depend on your ability to communicate and negotiate, and there’s no better place to cultivate such skills than within your family.
The Bible says: “As far as it depends on you, be peaceable.”—Romans 12:18.
Would you like help in resolving problems with a sibling? Read “What your peers say,” and then check out the accompanying worksheet, “Getting Along With Siblings.”