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4 Tips on Coping with Sibling Rivalry

When we’re young, our siblings are our best friends.  Every free moment is spent together – playing, laughing, bonding through trouble caused throughout the day, and competing for attention. Yes, the seed for sibling competition and rivalry is planted young.  For those that face the task of overcoming it, it’s a lifelong commitment.

Before diving head first into how you can cope with this issue in your own life, let’s focus on a relationship we can all aspire to emulate.

Northcentral University team members and identical twin sisters, Kristen Carter and Kathleen Van Riper, have worked together at NCU for over 3 years and couldn’t be happier.  Both characterize one another as their best friend, express a love for working together, and support each other through all of life’s hurdles.  “No rivalry with us,” Kristen says, “we always want the other to do well or achieve similar success!”

Sufficiently green with envy and longing to mend fences with your brothers and/or sisters yet? The four tips below can help you get started.

Make the Grand Gesture

Swallow your pride, pick up the phone, and make the first call – even if you don’t feel you’re in the wrong.  Nothing can be fixed if you both sit on your hands forever.  Whether you have the occasional argument or your relationship is a rollercoaster that never ends, one of you needs to be the first to break through the wall.  Sure, that first conversation might be awkward, but it’s all downhill from there.

Take a Walk in Your Sibling’s Shoes

We all focus on our own agenda when it comes to conflict, but if you can force yourself to take a step back from the chaos – do it!  Take a moment to actively think about what your sibling must be feeling and thinking.  If you were forced to walk a mile in their shoes, would you feel the same?  A new perspective on an old conflict can help shed some light on solutions you hadn’t thought of in the past.

“Let the Good Times Roll”

Even the most tension-filled relationships have their bright moments.  When your stress reaches a breaking point, try taking a walk down memory lane by looking through old pictures, emails or Facebook posts.  Remembering the “good times” will help you gain perspective on your relationship as a whole, rather than just a few moments in time.

Bite the Bullet – Apologize

For some of us, “I’m sorry” is the hardest sentence we’ll ever say.  It’s tough admitting we were wrong, but we all have to admit that the results are worth the sacrifice, especially when it comes to our siblings.  So, tuck that tail and go for it!

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