(I know I've used this picture before, but I just love it so much :) I need to get a new one though...with my brothers!! :)
So, they break things, don’t listen to you, want to tag along with you to places that you don’t want them to come…and the list can go on and on. But, you may not realize this: siblings are a big part of your life – just like the rest of your family. My Mother always tells me that even though I may have friends that come and go, become special to me and then leave, I will always have my siblings. Even when I marry and move out of the house, they will always be related to me. They will never stop being my siblings. That’s always stuck in my mind. Especially when something happens that I get upset with them. I remind myself of what Mother told me and just how they will always be with me – so I better get used to the idea, right? I’ve always made it a priority to get along with my siblings as much as I can and I encourage you to do likewise. They are so much dearer than a friend (when you really think about it) because they #1: live in the same house that you do. #2: will always be just within your reach. #3: will most likely understand you better than any other friend can.
Now you may be thinking, Huh! You don’t know my siblings, Raquel. They’re impossible to understand and get along with. Well you know what? Yes, you are right – I don’t know your siblings. But that doesn’t give you an excuse not to try to get along with them. All I’m trying to say here is that when you have a good relationship with your dad and a good relationship with your mother, doesn’t it make sense to have one with your siblings? Wouldn’t a family be much happier when everyone got along with everyone else?
Yes, yes, I know. We all get into our little spats and disagreements. Your siblings won’t listen to you when you ask them to do something – even if you ask nicely. Well, in our house it has always been a rule that when a younger sibling doesn’t listen to an older one right away, we instinctively go directly to Dad or Mother and let them handle the situation from there. Perhaps you can talk to your parents about this becoming a rule in your household.
I also encourage you to remember that your siblings are always going to watch you. They live with you, right? So it’s natural for them to monitor your reactions. They look to see how you handle yourself when you’re angry or stressed. Do you just explode and start yelling? Or go to your room for some quiet time with the LORD? When they walk into your room without knocking (and you’ve already told them – a million times, so it seems! – to knock), how are you going to respond?
One day, my little sister Priscilla (then at the age of 5) came up to me all of a sudden and gave me a huge hug. “Raquel, when I grow up I want to be just like you,” she told me. Tears filled my eyes as I hugged her back. I couldn’t believe what she had just said. After all the times that I had gotten upset at her, sometimes even yelled at her for doing something wrong (and now, thinking that it wasn’t actually all that wrong in the first place), she would still want to be like me? Later that evening I decided to ask my other sisters, Lydia (then almost 10) and Eunice (then 8), who they wanted to be like when they grew up. Priscilla piped in and stated that she had said she wanted to be like me. Lydia said that she wanted to be like a second-cousin of ours, Hannah S. – whom I completely agree is a wonderful and sweet godly young woman. When I asked Eunice again, she just said that she didn’t know and would have to think about it for a little while. A bit later while we were settling in bed (that night I remember I had them sleep in my room – just for some sister-fun time), I asked Eunice again. “Well, I can’t think of anyone, Raquel.” “Oh, Eunice, you have so many girls that you can choose from!” I told her. “But the only girl that I can think of that I want to be like is you.” Tears filled my eyes again, but this time they started falling down my face. My sisters, even though so many times I had lost my patience with them, wanted to be like me! Since that day, I have tried even harder than ever before to strive to be the kind of person that I would want my younger sisters to be like when they’re older. But I always remind them that I want them to be better than me. To surpass how “good” I am. Whenever you lose your temper or become upset over a ridiculous matter, remember the little eyes that are watching you – not to mention God’s eyes! – and think about how you should really react to the situation confronting you.
One thing that always seemed to be an obstacle for me to have a stronger and better relationship with my siblings was that they never seemed to take notice of my actions, or make it any easier for me to love and spend time with them. I’ve found that when you sit down with your siblings and tell them how much you want to get closer to them, it really helps them realize that you’re serious. A good, solid relationship can only work if it is worked on from both sides. If you convince your siblings that you think your relationship with them can be better, they will try to help you. Ask them to correct you nicely and gently when you say a harsh word or are about to lose your temper. Tell them that when you ask them to do something, that if they do it right away you can both avoid any further discussion (especially, things that can lead to harsh words and tempers exploding). If your siblings don’t seem to realize that your relationship with them isn’t on the best level, pray for them. Keep asking God to show them that they can become closer to you if they try and help you too. Maybe you can even sit down with your parents and siblings and let them both know how much you want your relationship to grow stronger.
What are some ways that you can get along better with your siblings? Following are some tips that I encourage you to try. These are some things and ways that have helped me, personally, to become closer to my siblings.
- Listen and try to understand them. A lot of the times, our siblings (especially younger than us) will come up to us and just start rambling away on a subject that you can’t make out head or tail of. A dream, perhaps, something they were learning in school, a conversation they had with a friend. A lot of the time they don’t make much sense and you can just brush them off with an “I’m busy right now” or “Go tell mom about it”. One way that you can show them that you love them is by listening to what they have to say. Even if it doesn’t make much sense – try to understand them and seem interested in what they are telling you.
- Do special things with them. This can consist of many different possible things that you can include your siblings in. One of my favorite things to do with my little sisters is plan a tea party. Make it a big event – getting dressed up in fancy clothes and hats, use tea cups – not just everyday mugs (and yes, even if they are your really nice tea cups. It makes it more special and means more to the younger children if they see that you are treating them like a “grownup” by letting them use your precious, fancy tea cups). Or, if you have brothers, try thinking up something fun to do with them. Suggest that you build a Lego fort with them or make new kind of ship using an idea that you have. Try taking your siblings on a picnic (a favorite with me and my siblings!) – even if it’s just in your front yard. Look through photo albums with them of when you and they were little. Play games with them. Do fancy hair-dos with your sisters and maybe even paint their names. Play Cowboys and Indians with your brothers. I’m sure you can think of some more ideas! Oh, another thing that my sisters absolutely love It will keep them occupied for hours (if you’re doing school, for example) but try to make it fun and do it with them. is when I write out a treasure hunt for them.
- Write them little notes. This is always something that makes them feel special – and something that they/you can keep.
- Have sleepovers in your room. Make it really fun! Maybe bring in a small TV or laptop and watch a fun movie with them before going to bed. Don’t worry…ask them to help you clean up your room in the morning.
No, I’m not the sibling expert or anything…haha far from it!! I’m learning with you too. :) I hope this article helped you…even a little. Stay strong, fellow sojourners!