Five ways to be a better sibling

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Show your family some love!

Ah siblings. Our relationship with our brothers and sisters can be so complicated! One minute fighting, the next minute pouring out our deepest darkest secrets.

But whether you’re best buds or hardly ever speak, you and your brothers and/or sisters share something – you’re family. And not just that, but in most cases they are the people who are going to understand your life most clearly, because you’ve grown up together, had the same family experiences and even share some of the same DNA.

So our siblings are pretty special. How can we show them some love, so they know they matter to us? Here are five things you could try to be a better sibling…

Listen to them

When was the last time you sat down and had a good long talk with your sibling... where you did none of the talking? Listening to what’s going on in your brother or sister’s life is a great way to show them that you care about them and are interested in them. So next time they seem down, ask them if they’d like to talk, and listen to what they say.

Help them

Are you better at maths than your brother? Is your sister feeling sick and unable to unstack the dishwasher? These are both great opportunities to show love to your sibling by helping them. This will require effort and sacrifice on your part, but your sibling will really feel loved when you help them pass their tests or get their chores done.

Celebrate their accomplishments

When you were little, were you jealous of your siblings when they did something really impressive? I know I used to get a bit envious of my sister’s talent for dancing when I was also placed in the back corner at ballet concerts! But now that we’re older, we can both see that we have different strengths, and it’s exciting to be able to celebrate each other’s achievements and talents. Tell your siblings you’re proud of them when they do something awesome – it will make them feel really happy and encouraged!

Treat them like a friend

When we really like a friend, we make plans to hang out with them. We text them, spend our weekends and holidays hanging out with them, and buy them great presents. Do you show the same love and care to your siblings? As you and your siblings get older, you’ll cross paths in the family home less frequently. Your built-in childhood playmates won’t always be around anymore, and you’ll find yourselves hanging out with different people more than each other.

But if you want to show your siblings that they matter to you, treat them like you treat your friends! Set aside time to spend together, text them when you haven’t spent quality time with them in a while, and get them thoughtful gifts for special occasions. As I prepare to move out of home in three months, I’ve been thinking about how I’ll have to take this to the next level, because I won’t be passing by my sister on the way to the bathroom in the morning anymore! Making an effort to see each other will be tricky, but it’s worth it to maintain and continue strengthening our great relationship.

Speak truth to them

I’m not talking about telling your sister that her dress is ugly or your brother that his hair is ridiculous. I’m talking about sharing the greatest truth with your siblings – the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If your siblings are Christians, encourage them with prayer, talking about what you’ve been learning at church or youth group, or sharing favourite Bible passages, Christian books and worship music. As the brother or sister of your siblings, you’re in a unique place to really build up your family in their faith!

If your siblings aren’t Christians, then God has placed you in a special position – you are a witness to them. So make the most of this opportunity! Be open about your faith, tell them why Jesus is important to you, and make sure they know they can always talk to you about any questions they might have. As in any relationship never be pushy with the gospel, or make them feel guilty for not sharing your faith, but speak patiently and pray consistently and God may use you to do big things in your family.

Whatever your relationship with your siblings is like, don’t forget that family is a gift from God. What could you do today to show love to your siblings?  

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