On my radio show, I hear from many teens who call in and need to talk about family issues – divorce, hurt, abandonment, neglect, fighting, and more! Dealing with family issues isn’t easy. You probably don’t need me to tell you this. I have two brothers. One older. One younger. Yes, I’m a middle child. (And yes, this explains a lot about me.) Growing up was never dull in our home. One bathroom, one go-cart and three boys always meant that someone was hording, someone was complaining, and someone was waiting in line.
I remember the time my older brother and I painted our neighbors’ fence, without their permission. And then there was the time we walked across the top of a waterfall, barefoot, on incredibly slippery rocks, fifty feet above a riverbed. I also recall when we stripped down to our skivvies and water-skied past a boat full of fisherman. That was pretty funny, until I lost my balance and came to a sudden stop on my…well, let’s just say it hurt. We did some pretty stupid—and awesome—things growing up.
We had a lot of fun together, but like all siblings, my brothers and I didn’t agree on everything. And a lot of times we found ourselves in some heated arguments, usually about really insignificant things like who got to hold the remote or whose turn it was to mow the lawn or who was going to ride shotgun. There were times when the arguments got really intense, and we would get so mad at each other we couldn’t stand it.
But today my brothers are two of my closest friends. And the time I spent with Kent and Jeremy growing up made for memories that’ll last a lifetime. The ups and downs of sibling relationships are a part of every family. And rivalries among siblings are a normal part of growing up. There’ll be times in even the best relationships when conflicts flare up. But there’s a right and a wrong way to handle them.
You’re responsible for being a sister/brother that works toward unity, no matter the situation, no matter who’s right, and no matter how wronged you may feel. This isn’t always easy. I get that! But, family funk sometimes is exactly that…a funk! So, you have to work hard to make it work.
The next time an argument begins to brew, regardless of whose fault you think it is, step back and take a breath. Most likely the thing that’s got you upset will be long forgotten before you know it. Family conflicts will never completely disappear. You won’t always agree with your family members’ choices, convictions, or lifestyles. You need to know that’s okay. There’s no one on this planet exactly like you, so there’s no one you’re going to agree with 100 percent of the time.
Also, not fighting to be the one who makes the argument first will give you a chance to listen to someone else. Lines of communication break down because everyone’s more concerned about their own agendas than actually trying to find common ground. More times than not, we fight because no one can button their lips long enough to listen.
Here are a few ways for you to work at being a sibling that rocks:
- Be a sister/brother that defends a sibling when they’re being criticized or made fun of.
- Keep a sibling accountable for their actions without being critical.
- A younger brother or sister may seem like they’re always in the way. But remember, they most likely look up to you, and because of that, they want to be around you. Work to be someone who deserves their admiration.
- Remember, YOU’RE ON THE SAME TEAM! God has given you your family. It’s the only one you’ve got. So you should take good care of it!