What Do I Do About Sibling Conflict? — RUBY ANSWERS

Dear Ruby,
I am 12 and I love birds. We live in a big backyard so they are everywhere. My sister hates when I bring them up, but sometimes my dad asks me about them. She’s really moody and sassy. What do I do?????????

Bird Lover


Dear Lover of Birds,
Getting along with siblings, is tough, huh? I have some siblings and I sure do love them, but we definitely get in arguments. Sometimes I wonder, “How am I related to these people? We’re so different.” One time I asked my mom if she was sure my brother was my actual brother–that’s how different we were. (She assured me that he was).

Last November, the disagreements got a little out of control. We couldn’t all be in the same room without fighting about something. “You took my phone charger without asking!” or “You like Donald Trump???” It was getting ridiculous, and because we don’t live together anymore, I avoided seeing them–I just didn’t want to argue anymore. But then I realized something: I can’t change the way my siblings behave or or think. I can’t change the things they say. But I can change the things I say and the ways in which I interact with them.

I made a goal to not fight with my siblings one single time during the month of December. I told myself, “It doesn’t matter if they say the most ridiculous, provoking, or unkind thing in the world. I’m not going to fight with them.” And let me tell you, it was difficult. I was so close to engaging in an argument so many times. But I took a deep breath, held my tongue, and went for a walk, or listened to music, or changed the subject. And you want to know what? We didn’t fight the whole month of December. Not a single time. It was a humbling experience, and I learned very quickly how often my pride is a contributing factor in getting along with my family.

So, you can’t change your sister’s moodiness or sass. You can’t change that she doesn’t want to hear about your birds. But you can change you. Try bringing it up when she isn’t around, or invite your dad to come into the backyard and observe them with you. Try it for a month, see what happens. I think you’ll be surprised.


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