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Thursday, February 20, 2020

How to Curb Conflicts Among Siblings?


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Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.

Are you a member of a family where you and your siblings don’t get along? You spend the better half of the day arguing or fighting over things that don’t matter, things you don’t even remember?  It’s almost as if the more you see each other, the more you resent each other’s presence?


Your parent’s intervention only fuels the fire that burns the beef between you and your sibling or siblings. Things get settled for a while only for a little spark to ignite said feud.  You’ve asked yourself why are things the way they are? How did it come to this point?

When did it get to this point in your life where you and the person or people who you once called best friends, brothers and sisters just stopped talking to each other and act like total strangers. Worst still, enemies towards each other?

These are people you’ve known all your life and for some reasons, reasons that don’t even make any sense, you all can’t stand each other. People who you once played hide and seek with are now folks you want to be far away from.

Your parents don’t get it either. They thought it would be a phase that would fade away over time but apparently, it hasn’t.  You barely even say hi or hello to each other in family gatherings.   Deep down in your heart, you are aware some things are missing.

Like a painful crater in the middle of your subconscious, you know a gap needs filling. With everything you do, each day, things you do remind you of them, of how you all used to get along, before the drama, before the calling of pet names ended.

You are jealous of the relationship your friends have with their siblings and how they would laughs and have fun and do things together. Watching them relate with their siblings only makes you miss your’s more. You want to bridge that gap.

You want things to be the way it used to be in the family. Yes, they said some nasty stuff, maybe even hurt your feelings but perhaps so did you. One thing is clear though; someone has to be the bigger man or woman if that’s the case.

It is said that ” families stick together no matter what”. The bond between you and your family has worn thin since the distance between you and your sibling or siblings got bigger.  How do you fix something that’s already broken? Steps to fixing a broken family relationship:

1.  Acknowledge the fact that two wrongs don’t make a right:

Nothing would be solved if you keep dwelling on the idea that you did nothing wrong, and expect to get an apology from your sibling or siblings. Understand that it isn’t about who is right or wrong, it is about getting the love back into the family.  Each member of the family has a side to their story. It would help if you kept an open mind.


2. Be in a positive frame of mind:

If the decision is to call a family meeting to fix the issues you and your sibling or siblings have, do so with a clear mind free of anger. Do not raise a discussion when you are upset. It would only cause arguments or fights and that invariably defeats the purpose.  It is also best to know when each member or members of the family isn’t angry. That way, you all can converse on the same page. Approaching an issue when you are mad only worsens the situation.

3. Accept your mistakes:

Mistakes are bound to happen as we all make mistakes. Your sibling or siblings won’t be mad at you if you never wronged them in ways unknown to you. Owning up to your mistakes is a bold step to healing. Being the first person to say sorry doesn’t make you weak. It only proves you are strong enough to move on and the respect would be accorded for the bold step you took to saying sorry.  Right or wrong.

4. Give prior notice:

It is important to note that people have plans. Calling a meeting without first notifying the member or members of the family may be met with a closed door. Make sure to check their schedule to see if they have travel plans, office meetings, children school meetings if any. This way, you only do not intrude into their private affairs, but you also show that you respect their privacy.

5. Talk not argue:

The purpose of a meeting called is to ensure the unity of a family among you and your sibling or siblings, but it wouldn’t make it easy if points raised are formed in a harsh tone. Ensure to communicate as clearly as possible. Avoid arguments; it would only cause more conflicts that may get physical. These go against the initial plan.

6. Make your point as clear as possible:

The main aim of a meeting called is to resolve discord between you and member or members of the family. Make that as clearly as possible without shifting blames to anyone. Make the members or members present that you are after peace and would appreciate it if they would support the cause.  It is best to do this in a people-friendly environment. Someplace where they would feel most comfortable to talk.

7. Be open to questions:

A member or members of the family you are having issues with might have some questions for you. Be sure to answer them as calm as you can. No matter how provoking or invasive the subject may be, give your answers most civilly and formally way possible.  Consider your responses before delivering them.

8. Step back:

Everyone wants to air their view of the situation. It is advisable not rush a member when it’s their turn to talk. Listen and understand the message they are trying to pass.  Members understand boundaries, and they’d respect the idea behind the meeting if you appreciate them enough to let them speak. This process inevitably brings the purpose of the meeting to fruition.

9. See a professional:

Consulting with a counsellor isn’t a bad idea if you are your sibling or siblings are willing to give it a try. Seeing a professional doesn’t signify disharmony among the family, it only shows you and your family are eager to all it takes for peace to reign. Ensure that this is what you and your family need to work it out, if necessary.

The decision to fix a toxic relationship among siblings isn’t an easy one, most especially if a member or members of the family becomes very adamant and doesn’t want to yield. Patience is very vital as it goes a very long way into healing the broken bond in the family.

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