Fighting With Brother Or Sister

2011/07/05 in Relationships

Fighting with your brothers and sisters is bad enough. But when you get into constant hassles with your parents because of it, life at home can be a real bummer.


We’re going to give you some tips on what you can do so that when you start out fighting with your brothers and sisters, you don’t end up fighting with your parents.

It’s always a good idea to try to keep your parents out of arguments you’re having with your brothers and sisters. Parents start resenting it if you’re always whining or complaining about what so-and-so did to you. Or if you’re constantly after them to do something about it. Learning how to get along with other family members is a sign of maturity, and you’re not going to score any points with your folks when you ask them to settle your personal fights.

Complaining to your parents can really backfire on you, too, even if you are in the right. If you’re the oldest, you’ll probably just be told that you should know better. If you’re the youngest, your parents may side with you because you’re the baby in the family. But your older brothers and sisters may resent this and cause more problems for you. These are just some of the reasons for not getting your parents involved in hassles you’re having with other kids in the family.

Your and your brothers and sisters will need to work out some practical ways to stop most fights before they even start. Now, it’s not as hard as it sounds. But first, you’ll have to convince them that they’re old enough and smart enough to handle this. Also tell them why it’s not such a hot idea to get your parents involved in your fights. Then sit down with them and figure out how to change situations in your house that now lead to arguments. For the next few minutes, we’re going to describe the best way we know how to do this.

You start by making a list of the things that you usually end up fighting about. When you’re making up this list, don’t get into why the fights start, or whose fault they are. All you’re interested in at this point is a list of situations or happenings that lead to arguments.

When you’ve got your list, pick one of these situations to start working on. For your first try, choose a problem that’s too serious. Then, you make another list. This time, all of you should try to come up with suggestions on how to change this situation so that the fight doesn’t happen. Everyone should be allowed to contribute as many ideas as he or she can think of. You’re just making a list of possible solutions right now, so every idea should be written down, no matter how dumb or unfair it sounds to the rest of you.

Before we go on, let’s look at how this might work with a real problem. Now, suppose that your job is to wash the dishes every night, and your sister’s job is to dry them. But she always disappears right after supper, and you’re left with the whole job. You get angry, and you two argue a lot. What solution to this problem can you two, and maybe other brothers and sisters, come up with? Well, your sister might suggest that you let the dishes dry in the rack so that she wouldn’t have to be around at all. Or, that you take turns every other night washing and drying. You might suggest that if she took over one of your weekend jobs, like vacuuming the whole house, you would wash and dry the dishes every night. Your kid brother thinks there’d be no problem if the family went out for hamburgers every night, too.

After you’ve all come up with your suggestions and can’t think of any more, the next step is talk about all of them. Throw out the ones that really wouldn’t work, or that someone involved in the situation doesn’t think is fair. For example, letting the dishes dry in the rack isn’t fair to you. And you all know that your parents wouldn’t take the family out to dinner every night. Then discuss the solutions that are left: Would they work? Would they solve the problem? Which one seems to be the best?

If you can all agree on what seems to be the fairest and best solution, make sure that everyone involved agrees to carry it out. Write down who’s going to do what, when and how. This will prevent fights later about what, exactly, was decided. If the problem involves chores, you might also want to make a chart that lists the jobs, and who is to do them, when.

O.K., so what do you do if what looked like the best solution doesn’t work? If it doesn’t work, you can always get back together, go through this whole process again, and come up with another solution.

After you’ve used this method to work out a problem on your list that wasn’t too serious, go back to your list and try one that’s more difficult. dd>We’ve suggested that for your own good, as well as your parents’ peace of mind, you try to keep them out of the arguments you’re having with your brothers and sisters. One way to do this is to figure out with your brothers and sisters how you can stop most fights before they start.

First, list those situations or happenings that end up in fights. The, pick something that’s not too big a problem and come up with as many ideas as you can think of to change that situation. After that, discuss these suggestions and pick the one that looks the best and everyone would be willing to try. Put it in writing so everyone involved knows what he has to do to make the solution work. Finally, try your solution to see if it works as well as you thought it would. If it doesn’t, get together again and look at some other ideas.

This method can work if you’re patient and willing to give it several tries, and if you start with the small problems and then go on to the big ones. If it means fewer hassles with your parents because of fewer fights with your brothers and sisters, it’s worth the effort.


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