Most siblings disagree with regularity, so you probably started arguing with your brother before you were doing much talking -- mostly with body language and cries. Now that you are older, consider effective ways to argue that allow you to both get something you want and to fight fair. This type of arguing can teach you skills you need to get along on the job or with your future family.
The Golden Rule
Treat your brother the way you want to be treated or the way you treat your best friend, suggests a Psychology Today article titled, “Can Grown-up Siblings Learn to Get Along?” Don’t use put-downs, physical violence or unfair tactics to win an argument. Consider how you would feel if you were treated the way you treat your brother and adapt your behavior accordingly. That applies to what you say and how you say it.
Walk in His Shoes
Some days it seems you walk around just looking for a fight, and that is also true for your brother. If your brother is having a particularly difficult day, find out what is going on and see if you can help rather than argue. Perhaps he’s had a fight with a buddy, is facing a difficult exam or didn’t get enough sleep last night. Don’t take the bait and make it easy for the two of you to fight. Let him know you understand that difficult days can be tough and that you are in his corner. Help him find some humor by telling some nice jokes or pointing out something funny, suggests pediatrician Dr. William Sears in “20 Tips to Stop Quibbling Siblings and Promote Sibling Harmony.” Remind him that siblings should stick together.
Settle It Yourself
Don’t argue in ways that encourage your parents to step in and referee. You are old enough to settle things peaceably between you, so find a way to keep your squabbling to a minimum and at levels that don’t involve everyone in the house. Take responsibility for your part in the argument, such as admitting that you borrowed something without asking or returned it in a poorer condition than you received it. If you can’t solve it, ask your parents or a trusted adult to help, suggests the KidsHealth website.
Look for a situation where you and your brother can both win. Brainstorm ways that you can exit the argument feeling good about the exchange. If a possession was borrowed and returned broken, maybe you can work together to replace the broken item with a nicer and newer item with the person who broke it paying a larger percentage. If you both want to use the same equipment, volunteer to come back in an hour and exchange places or to work together.
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