How to have better relationships with your siblings.

I honestly never imagined writing about relationships, especially the ones with our siblings. It just wasn’t something I was good at.

Being an older sister, I have always looked at them as children who couldn’t possibly understand what I am going through or give me an advice if needed.

We grew up in a broken home with parents who rarely showed love and for a while we lived apart, having almost no contact at all. Not having my sisters around me in the most critical years and right after we moved away from our mother, definitely shook that little of a relationship we had and made us into strangers.

They say that the first few years define you in a way, and since all three of us spent our first years very differently, we also lack connection when it comes to our childhood. I was 11 when we moved away from our mother, the middle sister was about 7/8 years old, and my youngest sister just turned one.

Growing up with a mother during a childhood, suddenly being taken away from her, and not knowing her at all – three very different experiences that marked our lives and, eventually, created three very different personalities that hardly ever had a chance at functioning normally.

The past few months have been transformational for me, not only when it comes to my beliefs, interests and ideas, but also when it comes to my relationship with my sisters.

I mainly want to point out the advances that I have made with my youngest sister because she was a tough cookie to break and we never actually had a relationship. We were just two people that existed under the same roof and occasionally made each other laugh.

She is now 16 years old and I am happy to witness the person she is growing into. She is very attentive, funny, and so far she managed to stay away from alcohol and cigarettes (something that her sisters cannot say they did).

The one thing that I believe helped me have a better relationship with her, is that I stopped getting angry at her. I admit that I can be very impulsive and I had anger issues in the past, but I have learnt how to manage myself and let things fall flat if they need to.

All of us are aware of how teenagers act, especially in the years between 12 and 15. They yell and fight, and think that we just want to make their life worse. Of course, when they grow out of this, they learn that even though we may be annoying, we simply want their help – and if they do help us they see that they get something out of it as well.

Here are some other things that I would recommend for having better relationships with your siblings:

  • Learn about their interests and start making small talk with them about it.
  • Share how your day went with them – include them in your life.
  • Remember about what you wanted when you were their age and then give them that (space, silence etc.).

It’s going to take years before I can say that I am best friends with my sisters, or maybe it will never happen, but seeing the progress we have made in the past 8 months puts a smile on my face.

Not all relationships are meant to be fixed and not all people will want to help us fix it, but we can try and give them a second chance.

We cannot choose our family and the beauty of life is that we can choose one when we grow up, but somewhere along the way we have to acknowledge that perhaps we gave up too quickly. Perhaps our sisters and brothers could be our friends.

Let me know in the comments if you ever had to rebuild a relationship with your siblings and how that went.

If you want to learn about how to have better relationships with your friends and family members, I wrote more in depth about it in my free eBook From Feeling Low to Living Green. You can grab it here and I would love to hear which chapters you loved the most.

Tanja

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