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Fighting with Siblings

Most brothers and sisters fight, at least a little bit. It can be really frustrating especially if you’re fighting a lot, but there are ways you can try to sort things out so they don’t get out of hand.

There are lots of different reasons your siblings may pick a fight with you, sometimes it might just be a misunderstanding. Common reasons for conflict include:

  • the age difference between you and your sibling.
  • competition in things like study or school work.
  • family changes like family separation or the birth of a new sibling.
  • not having enough time or space of your own.
  • misunderstandings caused by a lack of communication.
  • Something happening at school or with their friends that’s making them stressed out or sad.
Strategies for managing conflict

Talk to your sibling

Tell them how you feel and explain your point of view. This might be really difficult but if they understand where you’re coming from they might be more sympathetic. They’ll also get to explain their point of view which might help you understand where they’re coming from. Make sure you do it at a time when you’ve both had a chance to clam down and think about things.

Think before you speak

We all say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t really mean, give yourself time to think about what you’re going to say before you just blurt it out. If this seems too tricky try telling your sibling that you’d like to talk about it a bit later, and work out what you are going to say to them.

Get out of the house

Sometimes all it takes to calm down is some time alone. Go for a walk or to see a friend. This will give your sibling some time to cool off too. Then you can either try talking about the issue when you’ve all calmed down, or just let it go.

Talk to someone about it

Sometimes it can really help to just tell someone else what’s going on. Try talking to one of your friends about how you’re feeling.

Agree to disagree

Sometimes people’s points of view are so different they’ll never be able to agree on something, that’s ok, you can just acknowledge it and move on.

Reachout have more great ways to resolve a fight with a sibling.

What’s the difference between a fight and family violence?

Although misunderstandings happen in every family, sometimes these are part of a broader behaviour called family violence. Family violence is when one person uses violence to control, or scare, others in the family. It can include domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse. It is a pattern of abusive behaviour; usually it will happen more than once. It is a way for one person to control and have power over others in the family, by using fear. Women are more likely to be victims of family violence than men. Family violence often occurs within romantic relationships (like between parents) but can occur in other family relationships too (like between a parent and child). You can read more about family violence here.

If you are experiencing family violence at home the best thing you can do is talk to someone about it. Try talking to an adult you trust, like a teacher or the school counselor. You can call  1800 RESPECT or Kids Helpline for confidential counselling and advice. If you are ever in immediate danger you should call the police on 000.