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5 things to do after you fight with your sibling

Sibling fights...all of us with brothers or sisters have been there. Whether your little sis borrowed your fave sparkly dress without asking or your big bro just won't stop blaring music while you're trying to study, arguing with your fam is *never* fun. If you just had a major fight with a loved one, it's tough to know what to do next. Fighting with your sib is practically unavoidable (living with someone 24/7 is bound to cause at least some minor arguments), but there are some things you can do to help clear the air after a disagreement.

Take some time to cool off.

As difficult as it may be, it's important to calm down before making any rash decisions. Tempers might be running high, but things you do when you're angry are usually things you regret later on. Try to distance yourself from the situation to clear your head. Take a walk or write in your journal—whatever you like to do to relax—and encourage your brother or sister to do the same. It's much easier to have a discussion when you're both in a calm state of mind.

Determine the severity of the argument.

Ask yourself if what you're fighting about will matter in one year. If the answer is no, it's probably not worth a long, drawn-out fight—but you can still have a chat about it. Just try not to get your 'rents involved unless it's serious. Tattling will only make your sib more resentful. If you do need to consult your mom or dad, make sure you and your sibling both get a chance to share your side of the story.

Talk it out.

Having a mature discussion is the *best* thing you can do to resolve a conflict. If you're worried that you might forget what you want to say during your chat (it happens to all of us—conflict resolution can be nerve-wracking), jot down some notes on a Post-it. 

When you're talking it out,  use "I" statements instead of "you" statements to avoid throwing all the blame on your sibling. For example, say "It really bothers me when you play loud music" instead of "You need to stop playing loud music." Immediately blaming them for everything could make them act defensive.

When you're settling the argument, be open to compromise. Maybe you can lend your sister a pair of earrings on occasion—only if she asks first, ofc. Or your brother could still play Xbox in the living room—just while wearing headphones.

Apologize if you made a mistake.

Owning up to a mistake is one of the hardest things to do, but if you did something to upset your sibling, you should make it a point to apologize. If it's too hard to do in person, shoot them a nice text or leave them a note. Admitting if you did something wrong can go a *long* way in healing the relationship.

Do something fun together!

Once you've cleared the air, do something fun together to bring back good vibes. Go on a shopping trip with your little sis (trying on fancy prom dresses just for fun, anyone?) or ask your big bro if he wants to get takeout Chinese food (lo mein + movie night = perf sibling bonding time). Once you're able to forgive and forget, you'll be back on track in no time.

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by Kathleen O'Neill | 2/2/2021
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