rebelling against low expectations

Hard Things About Siblings


Brett and I are very excited to announce a new series of posts by Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally, sibling co-authors of the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, who kindly took some time out of their busy schedule to write several posts specifically for our readers here on The Rebelution. We are so glad they did.

“Sarah, I am trying to apply God’s ways to my life,” a young lady told me recently, a bright smile on her face. We talked for several minutes as she enthusiastically shared what the Lord was doing in her life.

Yet suddenly her smile faded into a look of distress, and with frustration she explained, “But Sarah, the hardest thing for me, the very hardest thing, is getting along with my younger sister.” As I tried to give her a few ideas about how she might be able to improve this relationship, she repeated emphatically that it was just so hard.

It is hard. In fact, many young people say that getting along with their siblings is one of the hardest things for them to do. But as rebelutionaries, our goal cannot simply be to “get along” or “survive” with our brothers and sisters, but rather to make them our closest friends.

It doesn’t take long to realize, however, that this isn’t going to be easy. The only way to succeed in these relationships, is by being willing to do hard things. Below are three of the most important—yet very hardest—things to do.

Over the course of this three-part series, my siblings and I will be taking a closer look at each of these “hard things.” We hope you’ll join us.

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • I’m looking forward to reading the posts in this series. I was able to meet Grace a few years ago, and I saw Sarah just recently, and was able to get a copy of her new book, “Before You Meet Prince Charming”, which looks like it will be as good as thier previous book. 😀 Good choice!

  • My family actually went through “Making brothers and sisters best friends” together in the mornings. It was great and had quite the impact on my family. We were amazed at the wisdom these siblings had; they were so mature!! We also laughed heartily on “Stephen’s section”, especially his “definitions”. They were an entertaining way to learn important truths.

    I’m looking forward to these next posts!

  • I’ve been waiting for this post. :o)

    Thanks Stephen, Sarah and Grace for contributing. Also, thanks Alex and Brett for featuring them.

  • Great! How fun to see these familiar faces. 🙂 I’ve met the Mallys and spent some time around them. (Sarah, you might remember me…I’m a friend of Angela G. who has a BrightLights group in Ohio) I love their brother-sister material, and they’re a wonderful example of sweet sibling relationships!

  • I really enjoyed this post… it really hit home with me…i am almost 18 and I have 3 little brothers, one older sister and one little sister…

    i needed to read this…

  • I read Sarah’s ”Before you meet Prince Charming”, very good!! I can’t wait to read the rest of these posts.

    In Him,

  • I too, have gone through this book with my 4 daughters and we all have found your book to be a source of help with the “sibling situations” that arise at our house on a daily basis!

    Thank you

  • Well… I am about to read this even though I don’t really want to but I’m pretty sure God wants me to. So there’s nothing else I can say until after I read the next three posts.

  • GREAT!! You guy’s ( and girls) rock. I come from a large family and know exactly what you are talking about.
    God Bless,

  • I was really excited to see the Mallys blog posts about brothers and sisters. I had read “Before You Meet Prince Charming” by Sarah Mally (which was a great blessing in helping me fully understanding what Christ wanted me to do NOW with my time instead constantly day-dreaming about my future spouse). After reading I was eager for more resources, so at a recent homeschool conference my mom purchased for our family the book “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends.”

    I can’t wait to start reading! Thanks guys! You writings truly are a God-sent gift. Don’t stop!

    In Christ,

  • 😀 I just went to Grace Mally’s Radiant Purity conference on the 11th and 12th! It was
    good. You guys keep up the good work!!! And God Bless!

  • I would have to say that when I was younger I had some hard times with my siblings, but as I got older, I got to know how to love them with a deeper love then I could ever know. For one reason its bc I learned how to read, and the word of God showed me so much about love. praise the Lord.

    But also being second born of 12, with number 13 on the way. I will tell you, living with 12 siblings is the most coolest thing in the world, and I can’t wait for number 13 to get here. I could not believe what my life would be like if I did not have any of them. It has gotten to the point that if anyone would ever hurt or beat up any of them. Oh boy Lord help that person.

    Hehe and since my mom had 6 boys before she had any girls, Lord help any boy that mess with my sisters hearts. Without my Dads permission. 🙂

  • That is right on. I am 16 and the oldest of nine. Six rough and tumble brothers and three sweet sisters with one on the way. I completely echo what you are saying. I have had my fair share of problems with my siblings but when push comes to shove we are an unbreakable team. This is the kind of family unity lacking in our generation. We must make them our closest friends as this article states, not our rivals as is the case in so many families today. Keep up the good work!

  • For all young girls: You need to read Sarah Mally’s book “Before you meet Prince Charming” It is a absolutley wonderful book and has helped me so much!

    For all brothers and sisters: Read “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends”. It is great book! Convicting, but great. And Stephen is soo funny!

    God bless!

    Sarah. 🙂

  • This is good stuff. One of my brothers and myself read Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, (by the Mallys) and my other siblings are going to as well pretty soon.
    Although I can’t say I follow everything to the letter, because contrary to popular beleif, I am not perfect(HA HA HA!), this book does really help, and I am looking forward to what is going to be coming from this blog!

  • I have watched the movie, making brothers and sisters best friends, I am trying to apply it to my own life, but it is kinda hard with 3 brothers 12 and under!

  • I love my sister! Worldy teens assume that once they reach a certain age, they can just stop liking their siblings and parents. WRONG!! God wants us to love them! Ask God to show you how to show random acts of kindness to your sibs and parents today!

  • I have read the book and it does help when you have an 11 year old sister and a 4 year old brother AND a 4 year old sister! It isn’t easy but sooo worth it!

  • i have read the book and i thank you guys for it. however i would like to make some amends with my older brother, whom i don’t see much. we don’t get along to well(alright we don’t get along at all. ) got any suggestions?

  • I’ve been reading the book and there’s a lot of wisdom in it. I’m working on getting along better with my siblings, and although there are times when I feel like throwing the book against the wall, I’d say the Lord is helping me and I’m doing alright.
    That stuff about meekness really is difficult, its really hard not to think “if I’m humble about this, they’ll think they can just push me around” especially as the oldest. You guys were right when you said how important it is to remember that God is in control.

  • Thanks soooo much for putting this post up!!! We read through the Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends and we loved it!! It helps when conflicts rise up to remember to love one another and to treat others like we would ourselves. Keep posting!

  • yeah, this really is the hardest thing ever. But remembering that I need to do hard things really encourages me to be kind.

  • Believe you have to consider all aspects in the current economic climate – personally do no think we have seen the full extent of the recesssion, so would be cautious in considering.

  • Sarah,

    I think you are right all the way around! My twin 8 year old brothers are the most annoying people in the world but they love you more than anything I have found that out myself over the tween years I am actually not a teen yet I’m only 12 but reading your post really inspired me. we all need help from the creator of the earth to respond right to the little things in life!

  • I have a brother who is 13 years younger than me and while sometimes he can be annoying I love him very much and I don’t find it very hard to get along with him. him

  • I have three brothers, two are way older and one is two years younger (12 years old). I get along ok with my older brothers( mostly because they are out of the house and more mature ), but my younger brother (who shall remain nameless lest he get too mad at me) can be a problem. I would love to get along but even when I am willing to be happy and cooperative he seems to be bent on anoying me. I don’t mean to say that it is all his fault because I am guilty too of being somewhat annoying and antaganistic. How can I become friends with a sibling who can be difficult?

    I would love some suggestions.

  • I have a twin sister…..I’m not saying any one else has bad sibbilings, but try livving with one your age. It may seem fun, but its hard! We do get to talk alot which is nice.
    But one thing that has gotten in our way is the fact that we do everything together! We’ve been trying to branck out and do things that are different from each other (I do my chalk art and she does voice) but what really gets in the way is pride. We’re both on my churches quiz team, and last year she made all stars at Nationals. I was ok with that….but then she went to a friends house and I stayed at home with my mom and we had to go to a funeral……my poor Pastor is so imbarrased that he can’t tell us apart and he’s known us for 14 years. He came up and put his arm around my shoulder and says to several people “So! This is our all star quizzer!” I shook my head and I had to say. “Nope that was Julie.” (he had the grace to look imbarrased and then pulled out that famous line. “Well we’re all winners.”) I’ve had to do that several times over the years. And I finally found what had been in the way of our relationship all theses years and I found that it was pride.
    we don’t have a perfect relationship but its better. (I also have a little brother but he’s another story 🙂
    shine your light and let the whole world see!

  • Hey! =) I am number 4 in a family of 6 kids. There are alot of times that I want to strangle my younger brother and sister (and sometimes my older sibilings. lol ) I really enjoyed the Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends book because I can totally relate!=) Can’t wait for more posts. =)

    God Bless!!!


  • I have 7 sisters and 1 brother. I’m the 2nd youngest and it’s tough. My brother and one of my sisters walked out on our family. My sister just recently. It hurt. I loved both of them, and they took that and stomped on it. I have forgiven both of them, but it is sooo hard to not hate them. Help!

  • My name is Cody and I have two sisters. I fight a LOT with them. This article will make me think before I act. I will DO HARD THINGS! Thank you for writing this article.

    My name is Natalie and I have a younger sister and brother. I needed this especially today! This will be a Hard Thing to work on. Thanks for the boost to strengthen my relationship with my siblings.

  • I just finished reading all three posts. They’re great! I have one sister who is exactly one week less than a year older than me. She has some form of autisim so she doesn’t understand things the way normal people do. She looks like a normal person but she is currently in grade 10 and cannot read. Not being able to read changes your entire life. Everything she does, she does a certain way, that sometimes I think is totally unreasonable, and there is no changing it. It can be extremely frustrating. When she does something very unreasonable, or something that frustrates me to no end, I tend to speak very fermly to her (I usually try not to yell). She then usually gets mad at me and a fight starts. I tend to be bossy sometimes and tell her what to do. She absolutely hates always being told what to do, because she wants to be independant but she can’t because of her lack of understanding. She also knows that she is the older sibling, so she retaliates when I’m too bossy. It’s really hard to let her be who she is, because I want everything to work the way it would in a normal persons life. But I simply can’t. I always remind myself, and my mother always reminds me that I have been put in the exact family I’m in for a reason. I never used to understand that because I wanted an older (normal) brother so badly. I thought life would just be perfect if I had a normal older sibling who would understand how I feel. But in the past year it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that I need to love and respect no matter how frustrating life with my only sibling can be. Believe me, I haven’t nearly mastered that yet, but I have definitely learned a lot in the last years. Oh yes, sometimes I still wish I had an older brother. But I understand now that God gave me only one mentally challanged sister so that I could become the person God wants me to be.

  • It is great to get along with siblings! I have a brother that drives me crazy sometimes but is also a lot of fun to play with.

  • Sometimes when my brother and I get in an argument I will try to get control of myself and take the humble, submissive attitude. When I do, it tends to catch my brother totaly off gaurd.
    An example of such a time would be when I had been reading in the bathroom (something my mom had told me not to do) and when i got out my brother got after me for it. (You know how siblings do that. . . .they like to point out everthing you do wrong,) This made me frustrated, and my brother continued saying that i was disobeying Mom and therefore disobeying God. I thought about that and calmed down. I replied that he was right and I would make an effort to be more obediant. I then thanked him for correcting me. He was caught off gaurd and asked why i was thanking him.
    The moral of this story. . . .If you want peace with your sibling don’t go on the defencive but rather take a humble attitude and be the first to apologize. Even if you did not start it!

    ~God Bless~

  • I’ll have to read this blog series, cause i like never get along with my brother!!! How can I??? He’s a 2nd grade brat!!!!! That’s 5 grades below me, how can we become friends???

  • i do not know if it will work ,but life would be a lot nicer if me and my brothers (Brian and Bryce they are 10 and 12 but not in that order) got along together. My brother Brian thinks hitting me is a sport and he and Bryce think saying (kill Bonnie) is a joke and they try to get there friends to say (kill Bonnie) as well. how do i handle that???? i mean they hate me and mom and dad have so much work to do that they never notice dad is worked to hard (he has 2 jobs but i think it is more truthful to say he has 4 jobs) and needs a brake my mom has to know everything (that is part of her job) and is kinda cranky and tired from all the work (i would be to).i have only read this post but i am going to read the other two they look amazing and i rely rely rely do want to get along with my brothers.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →