Reconcilable Differences: Mending Sibling Rivalry In Adulthood
Sibling squabbles are common in childhood and — usually — are not a particularly big deal, consisting of fights over toys or feuds regarding that last chocolate chip cookie. Though many siblings outgrow their conflicts, some only see these disagreements grow in frequency and importance until nearly every sibling interaction is rife with contention. Instead of allowing conflict to typify your relationship with your sibling, put conscious effort into bridging these rifts and putting the long-festering issues to bed once and for all.
Plan Short and Public Meet-Ups
Trade protracted and private visits for short and sweet outings that take place in public venues. The duration and location of these visits decrease the likelihood that an argument erupts. Arrange to grab a cup of coffee together, or meet at the park to enjoy a nature walk.
Consult a Third Party
Talking through your conflict with a third party can help you understand the problem more completely, suggests Livestrong.com. Share your struggles with a friend or spouse. When doing so, be careful not to turn your conversation into a sibling-bashing session. Speak honestly and openly, sharing the mistakes you have each made and asking the third party for advice and support.
Invite Her In
Make it undeniably clear that you want your sibling in your life. Arrange events for her to attend. Plan a family dinner at your house, or arrange a party to celebrate a special date, such as your parents’ anniversary. Speak to your sibling specifically and implore her to come, ensuring she knows that you really want her there.
Find Common Interests
Use a common interest as a surreptitious way to create quality togetherness time, suggests Grandparents.com. If your sibling loves to scrapbook, join her in her efforts. If she’s knitting her fall away as furiously as that squirrel filling his tree with nuts for winter, pick up your needles and join her.
Stick With It
Commit to relationship rebuilding. You are likely to experience setbacks along the way, but don’t let these issues induce you to falter in your efforts. Stay focused on your goal of establishing a strong sibling relationship to increase the likelihood of your ultimate success.
Say You’re Sorry
Even if you’re not solely responsible for the strife in your relationship, offering an apology is an easy way to heal old wounds, according to GlobalPost. You likely played some part in the conflict, so saying you’re sorry — even if only for that part — is the wise and mature thing to do.
Don’t Expect an Apology in Return
Even though you have apologized, your sibling may not be ready to. Don’t offer your apology then recant it if you aren’t given one in return. Be patient and understanding. Your sibling might apologize at some point, but if you’re really committed to relationship rebuilding, don’t wait for her to do so before moving forward.
Talk About the Issues
Once your relationship has started to improve, discuss the issues that once divided you and your sibling. While it may seem tempting to ignore them — as to prevent another fight — you can never truly move on without addressing them and reaching a mutual agreement.