How to Deal With Anger Toward Your Sibling

Punching your sibling when you are angry won't make the situation better.
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Siblings know which buttons to push and can get on your nerves easier than anyone else. Whether it is borrowing your things without permission or behavior that annoys you, they can make you angry. Your best option is to learn how to deal constructively with your emotions and find ways to get along with your siblings.

1 Express Feelings

When tempers flare, you may need time apart to cool off before returning to deal with whatever caused the problem. Tell your sibling why you are angry and outline how to resolve the problem, suggests Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist specializing in parenting issues. Describe the problem and how it makes you feel. For example, “When you borrow my things without asking, I feel like I have been robbed and my space has been violated.” Exercise as much self-control as possible by not calling names, physically fighting or yelling. Try to find win-win solutions.

2 Exchange Shoes

A younger sibling can annoy you because he misses the connection you had or is afraid of losing you. Ask your sibling why he does things that trigger your anger. The solution may be to spend more time with him and assure him that you still care. If he feels loved and accepted, he will be less likely to fight, according to Markham. He might not realize that his behavior pushes you away.

3 Work as a Team

Do a service project that moves the focus from your relationship to helping others, suggests Dr. Richard P. Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and family therapist. Options include collecting cans of food for a local food bank, taking clothes you no longer need to a clothing bank or helping an elderly neighbor with household chores. If you can't agree on a project, choose two projects and spend equal amounts of time on each. Express appreciation for your sibling’s help and offer forgiveness when he or she apologizes for upsetting you.

4 Family Meetings

If the anger you feel has to do with family issues such as lack of personal space or disrespect, call a family meeting and discuss how to create a more peaceful environment, suggests Markham. Your parents might have ideas about how to reduce tensions between you and your sibling, such as spending more one-on-one time with the child who feels she has been overshadowed or breaking up shared living space into two private areas. Airing the problem allows everyone to give an opinion and brainstorm solutions.

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.