rebelling against low expectations

How can I befriend my siblings?


ANONYMOUS WRITES: I have really great younger siblings, but, partly due to my using them and selfishness in the past, they now resent me. The sister closest to me in age was the one who does truly have cause to resent me β€” I think the others just follow her lead. I’ve apologized, and let her know I’m trying to change β€” and she is trying to regain our relationship, but I’m not sure what else I can do.

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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


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  • I definitely have similar problems with my younger sister, and I’ve been trying to fix it for the longest time. One way I find extremely helpful is to try and spend time with her, doing things that she wants, and just learning more about her. I’ve discovered that I don’t really know my sister that well at all.
    I’m also trying to just have patience with her because I understand that it is my fault in how I have treated her.
    It’s a work in progress for sure

  • Make time for them. I am the youngest in my family, and I would consider my three siblings my best friends in the world. They all, even though two of them are 10 years or more older than me, made time in their own lives to invest in mine, taking me hiking, talking and listening to me (even in my crazy moments), and all around showing they loved me.

    Actions speak louder than words. Show through your actions that she is important to you, that you are willing to sacrifice your own wishes to her, and that you will take the time to invest in her. That’s the biggest one!

  • First of all seek God and pray. Pray that your sister will soften her heart for you are a family. Now, you have to work on your relationship with her. Do anything that is pleasing to God when you’re talking or doing chores or whatever the two of you are doing. Tell them that you love them and seek forgiveness. Cherish every moment and let them feel loved by showing it. Do activities that will help strengthen your bond with each other.

  • I think the below suggestions are great. I might add being patient. It will take time to gain their trust, but patiently and gently pursue their friendship by spending time with them, doing what they enjoy doing, taking them out for a special sister to sister time, and love them for who God made them to be. Don’t try to make them have your personality when God has given them their own. I grew up with four younger sisters and I am afraid I often would try to make them like or do things that I liked doing rather than let them be their own unique self. Love them unconditionally.
    I am probably just repeating others or stating the obvious, but hopefully this is helpful. You are definitely heading down the right road and I would encourage you to continue in that. πŸ˜‰

  • Well, my brother and I were kind of the same way — I was really… um… a brat toward him. He was older, and let’s just say I knew how to make him look really bad. πŸ™
    Really, it takes time. Now me and my brother are really close. A relationship like this can be mended!

  • AHHHHH!!! I’ve been asking the same question! Sorry, I can’t answer this one! I’m in the same boat as you, Anonymous! *sits back with popcorn and reads all of the comments*

  • Because i can be really quite bratty towards my siblings, i’m looking forward to reading more comments on this thread. I need some help. Thankfully, my sibs are almost always very gracious. It amazes me.

  • I’m sorta in the same boat. My sister who is 3 yrs younger than me drives me insane. The age gap between us causes us to have huge interest differences and thus we don’t get along. When my sister wants to play Legos I would rather clean my room or do something I find productive. Our personslitys crash and so I have been working on being a better sister. Of course she is kinda crazy and does stuff to bug me/ embarrass me in front of people and so I either do nothing and look like a completely wimp to the people I talk to or I go after her and put my little sister ‘ in her place’. I have been getting better about just not doing anything and asking her to stop and then if that doesn’t work I ask my mom. And I have been trying to involve my sister in more things but old habits die hard. I was always a loner for the longest time where I would color while listening to aio. I did this till I was probably 8 and then I began playing with my sister a lot. But then when I became a teenager things changed and well I had never put much effort into it until recently

    • I’ve dealt with the same thing. I have a sister three years younger than me, and she has a completely different personality…which sometimes gets on my nerves. I’m trying now to include her in some of the things I do and I do with my other siblings.

  • I struggle with this a lot too, and lately I’ve been trying to spend more time with them. Since it’s summer for me, I planned out little Starbucks/craft dates with my younger sister (we painted things one time, and I’m planning on buying her some Frappuccinos:) and I’m going to try to play some sports with my brothers and maybe possibly get into video games just so I can interact with them more lol.

    I think maybe if you show that you’re being deliberate and sincere about it, it’ll help a lot.

  • No “genius” answer here, but I think the amount of time you’re prepared to spend with your siblings shows how genuinely you want to be their friend. If you keep on doing things with and for them regardless of whether its convenient or whether they ask you to, they’ll soon realise that you’re not just performing your “duty” as an older sibling to them but that you really care about them.

    More than most things, family is something that we don’t have to deserve. It’s also a place where all our personal faults are exposed (unlike an online discussion such as this one). Admit your problems to your siblings, and show them a care that they don’t deserve. Maybe, in return, they’ll show you something of the unmerited love that makes family so special.

  • Same, but from a younger sibling perspective. My brother and I have a hard time getting along. He’s about a year and a half older than me, but as my mom says, we’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. Completely different personalities accompanied by Asperger’s and ADHD. In the past, he wasn’t nice to me and i wasn’t to him, and that has lead to resentment and animosity between us. It has gotten better as we have gotten older, but we literally have nothing in common. If there’s anything you can glean from this, really show that you are changing the way you feel about them. Not just in words and actions on the outside, but also in prayer and thought. I can never tell what my brother is feeling, but I hope that he doesn’t think I’m too annoying :).

  • Hello! I also struggle with this same issue a LOT! I’m the oldest and only girl, with four brothers. My eldest brother is 4 years younger than myself. Our problem is that we both compete for power! I’m the oldest, so I feel (pridefully) like I should naturally be in charge, and that he should respect me as an ‘elder’. However, as a male, he will one day be head of his household. I will not. So, I also should respect him as a man; created by God to lead, instead of putting him down all the time. I’m still praying about this situation a LOT! Something I have found is encouraging words and compliments/comments that show respect go a long way!! I know our situations are different, you have a sister, I have a brother, but hopefully my example will at least encourage you!! The other day, the 5 of us were home alone. My brother and I had just finished an argument, and we were about to sit down to eat. One of the littler boys asked if he could sit at the head of the table since dad was gone. I cringed when I felt God telling me to let my oldest brother sit there….But I did, and explained to my upset younger brother why I was letting his big bro sit there: he is the oldest boy in the home right now, and in some ways the leader. I admit it was H.A.R.D to say those words!!! but when I saw his face light up, it was totally worth it.
    So, my point in telling you all of that is this: 1) I can totally relate to you! I will pray for you (and could also use prayer). 2) Even when it doesn’t seem fun, a compliment or uplifiting word never hurts!

    Last but most important, I encourage you to PRAY about this situation!! God WILL answer your prayer and guide you as to how you can rebuild this realtionship!!!! I hope I have been able to encourage you at least on some level… =)

    • Hi Megan,
      I know I am not the one that asked the question, but I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story… and encouraging the rest of us with some of the things you have learned, and that God has taught you! Some of the things you said are so true, and encouraging to me, with the situation that I find myself in with my siblings. It’s different than yours, but I can definitely still relate so some of the things you talked about.
      Thank you again!
      Only Because He Lives,
      Karissa Noelle

  • I’m the fourth of six kids; I had to share a room with my brother that is five years younger than I am and we grew to hate each other. When I was 17, God got me to start reading my Bible, and when I read 1 John 4:20-21 it changed my life: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (NIV’84) The Holy Spirit convicted me of sin immediately, and I just started being nice to my younger brother, and within five months we were friends and within a year we were best friends and involved children’s ministry together. After the Lord got me to start reading my Bible, I tried to get my brother to follow my example, but it took a year of doing it alone until he saw how much the Lord had changed me that he too started to read his Bible a lot every day. Praise the Lord! So, it may take time, but if you act in love–with the Holt Spirit enabling you–then the results should show. Prayer helps too.

  • Duct tape and threats work wonderfully.

    In all seriousness though, I’ve never done that. My brothers and I are just pretty good friends, and I love them. Sure they are difficult and they drive me bonkers sometimes, but through forgiveness and just loving them like Jesus, I’ve found that we can get along even through the hard times.

  • I definitely can relate to your situation. I find myself in one similar to it. Most of the things that people have commented so far, are things that I would suggest to you, as well. Definitely spending time with them is a huge thing that is going to speak volumes to them. Because, the fact that you are willing to go and just be with them will mean more to them than you may even realize at first. Also, doing things with them, that they like. Even if it is something that you don’t particularly enjoy doing. Because, showing interest in the things they like/have interest in will mean a lot to them. After all, it’s not about us. It’s about them… getting to know them. I’ve realized more recently, and am reminded over again how short life is. It is but a vapor that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. Life is short, no matter how long you live. And so, I don’t want to live with regrets. I don’t want to take this time for granted. I don’t want to look back on the time that I had with my siblings, and say, “wow, I really wish I had spent more time with them.” My older sister had the idea of taking one of our younger siblings out on our day off from work each week. So, we take a different sibling out each week, and do with them whatever they want to do, whether it be playing tennis, going to the park, going shopping, going out for ice cream, etc.
    Another thing I have learned, is that we need to be open and honest. When we make a mistake, we need to admit it, confess, and repent. Also, maybe asking them to hold you accountable. Say, “are there things in my life that I am doing, that don’t match up with what I say I believe, and if so, what are they, and how can I change that?”
    But, above all, PRAYER! Keep praying for your siblings, and asking the Lord to love them through you! Prayer is huge!

  • Hey there,

    This is a great question! I am sort of in the same boat right now, and I can only tell you what I have experienced. So take it with a grain of salt.

    For me it is easy to tell my friends how much I love & appreciate them, but it doesn’t come as natural for me to tell my sister. So try complementing your siblings and tell them how much you love them. Our siblings are watching us no matter if we think they are or not. Our words can either build them up or tear them down; point them away from Christ or point them towards Him.

    Also, choose your battles to fight. I am very opinionated when my sister does something that I don’t think is beneficial or that is, in my opinion, downright dumb. So I am working on keeping my mouth shut when it is not necessary to correct her. I want my sister to know Christ and to see Him through me. How can she do that when all I do is complain?

    Lately, I feel like God has been showing me how fragile life is. We don’t have time for there to be friction between my sister and I because we are not guaranteed tomorrow… Christ has come so that we can be restored and so we can love others as He has loved us! (John 10:10 & John 13:34-35) That doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect here in this life, but it does give us hope that we can go to Christ for help. Christ has already ultimately won the battle. He is the One who will guide and strengthen us!

    Most importantly, pray. Ask God to give you wisdom, strength, and love for your siblings. “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

    β€œAsk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11

    I will be praying for you and please pray for me as well.:)

    In Christ, Sarah

  • I have one big Brother @daniel Jukes we are pretty close even thought he is 3 years older than me.And I have a little brother who is 3 years younger than me and a sister that is 6 years younger than me. I think over the last year I’ve got on better with all of them. I wish we were a little closer in age, I find it really hard to get on with my little sister! I have 3 some of you might have more.

  • Good question! I think repentance, prayer and a different perspective help. Do things that your siblings will remember you by. I struggled with a similar situation, however, I realized I won’t be with my brothers and sisters forever, and it is important I enjoy the little time I do have!

  • Aww, praying for you! I’m the second of four so I can really relate. I’m the second child and I also have the second child personality. I’m the one who can’t make up my mind ’cause I’m used to everyone making it up for me (do not ask me what my favorite ice cream flavor is, unless you want me to have a debate with myself for an hour. It’s vanilla :P)
    But seriously, recently I have struggled with these things with two of my siblings. My brother who is actually more like my twin because we’re so close in age and my younger sister who is almost six years younger than me. My brother and I are constantly getting on each other’s nerves, so I have to realize that with him I need to have extra patience. We’re so different, so I think sometimes we forget that the other isn’t an alien.
    My sister has been dealing with a lot of health issues and has been dealing with a lot of emotional pain internally. This comes out in selfishness and getting mad at me. This is hard to understand for me, because I’m naturally not self-centered (not that I don’t have my moments!!!) I can find myself getting annoyed. The things that help me most are talking with my parents about it, often they can help me see the situation from my sibling’s side. We also try to do games or movies together, something that we can do and connect in a light-hearted manner.

    Another suggestion is to read Sarah, Stephan, and Grace Mally’s book, Making Brothers And Sisters best friends. It is soooo helpful!! praying for you and your family! hope this helps.

  • Thank you so much everyone for your encouragements, advice and prayers, I submitted this question. Putting others first, especially those whom I don’t always get along with is certainly a hard thing–but isn’t doing hard things what I’m on the Rebelution for anyway? πŸ˜‰

  • So this is off-topic but I just had to ask. Are you a morning person? I am told that I get really grumpy. So I usually don’t talk to anyone in the morning. I’ve been wondering if I’m the only one.

      • I’m a morning person!!! afternoons are my least favorite time of day. I like the morning and the evening (cuz I can read more Spurgeon… lol) best.

  • The true question is: “How do you befriend anyone?”

    If you can answer this question, the principle will be same of your siblings.

  • Try doing things WITH them (that THEY want to do, not necessarily you, but make them feel like what they like is important.) also, try doing things FOR them… not in a way to make yourself an enabler of laziness or something, just something that lets them know that you think of what they want and need and you are trying to facilitate.

  • Be completely encouraging! Try to look for the little things that make them special and then say something when that certain aspect shows comment and tell them! 2. Take time to be with them, definitely something that they want to do. Try to spend a little bit more money at their birthday. If you buy them something on a day other than their birthday. If you buy them something even if it is not theirs it shows that you are spending money even though you aren’t required.

  • I highly recommend “Making brothers and sisters best friends” by Sarah, Stephan, and Grace Mally.
    It’s a book by Christian siblings for Christian siblings πŸ™‚

  • I’m really thankful that you brought this up! I also have a really hard time getting along with my siblings. I’m number 4 in 7 children, and I’m the oldest girl. Since 2 of my oldest siblings have moved out, I’m treated like an oldest child a lot of the time. Which makes me act more bossy and in the past I have used my siblings. I have tried to apologize and change but still have a really hard time getting along. And my siblings don’t believe that I’m trying to change, which makes it even harder.

  • I’m the oldest of three siblings and really have a hard time with this too. My hardest thing is controlling my temper when I am around my siblings. How would you guys deal with this?

  • Oh gosh! Well, I’m the sixth of ten so I’ve do know some stuff (NOT trying to sound arrogant guys, sorry). Different siblings have used each other at some point (including me), I’ve currently been the oldest in the family and my younger brother and I struggle a lot sometimes, I’m also a middle child which gets to be not fun sometimes! As sibs, we’ve all gone through and still do go through our problems with each other, but we’ve always been best friends. What I’ve learned as a younger and older sibling is that you have to be humble, teachable with an older sibling but not bossy or prideful with a younger one, a bossy or arrogant older sibling will definitely get resented, you need to be humble and friendly, meaning you apologize and admit faults, respect and build the younger sibling up which can be painful but worth it eventually, like my mom always says, “Respect them and they’ll respect you”, which really is very true. Of course, patience is also very key!
    Engaging with younger sibs is big too, do things with them that they like and be enthusiastic, this makes them enthusiastic and shows that you care.
    Being their friend can be hard sometimes, my younger brother and I butt heads at times and then I try to be his friend but he gets all arrogant or stiff, so I’ve learned that I just need to be humble, thoughtful and consistent in my friendship. Consistently showing that you want to be their friend will show them that you mean it, consistently being humble and kind as well. And of course, just doing things like asking how their doing or inviting them into something you can do together is big. My older sisters and I are great friends, when we see each other we’re always asking about how we’re feeling, what we’re doing these days, things that show that you love and care about them, being self-less, focusing on them instead of you and what you want or how you feel. Sorry if this got long and hope I could be of some help!

    • Thank you so much. I am the oldest of three, and sometimes it’s hard for me to be “the responsible one” with them. So this post was encouraging to me. =)

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’