Written by: Phindile Le Bris Sithole-Spong
As the youngest of three girls, I know all too well how quickly fights can escalate. From unintentional jabs to miscommunication and hurt feelings. Which is why knowing how to communicate with your siblings is a skill worth learning. Not only will it save you a lot of unintentional drama and pain in the long run. But it will also ensure a better and healthier relationship in the future.
One of the first things to ask yourself when communicating with siblings and loved ones is “would I say this to a friend”? If the answer is no then it is not saying. Sometimes with family it is easier to say hurtful things and hide under the idea that you are being helpful. But as we all know too well, sometimes we don’t want to be helped. Let alone by a sister or brother. Which is why avoiding giving hurtful advise is a good golden rule to remember. Its also important to ask how you would feel if your sibling said that thing to you? If your answer is not good then leave it alone.
The next thing to building better communication with siblings is to not bring up hurtful past events. As a sibling, the likelihood is that you know all the pain and trauma of your sibling and know exactly which buttons to push. Which is why family fights can turn so ugly. So instead of rehashing past events and traumas focus on what you are talking about and try not to deviate.
The last thing I have learnt is connected to the first rule which is to stay out of your siblings business. As a sibling it’s natural to want to help but sometimes that help can be seen as criticism instead of actual constructive help. Which is why it’s better to wait to give advise until you are asked. It may be a hard rule to follow but a worthwhile one to remember. Especially because some lessons are better learnt than shared or told about. So whilst it may seem easier to jump in with advise. Remember that your sibling lay have to learn the hard way. And that in the end we cannot protect our siblings from lifes many lessons. No matter how difficult it may be to see your sibling make the same mistakes as you.