Information Centre

Conflict with siblings

Family Young People

Everyone disagrees with each other at times. Occasional arguments are part of living in a family. But, constant fights with siblings can be stressful.

Why you fight with siblings

Siblings often know exactly which of your buttons to push. Other factors that can make it harder to get along include:

  • differences in age or values 
  • jealousy or insecurities
  • lack of privacy
  • having step siblings
  • competitiveness

What you can do

How you handle conflict with your siblings can depend on your ages and what you’re fighting about.

  • If it’s something minor, like teasing, discourage it by ignoring them or laughing it off. 
  • Walking away and counting to ten can be a good way to cool off.
  • Talk to someone outside the situation. Getting a different perspective on the conflict can be helpful. 
  • Get some distance. While this might not solve the problem, it can be good to get some headspace. 

Talk it out

Talking to your sibling about problems you’re having might seem nerve-racking. But it can be a great way of creating a solution, particularly if you’re the same age. If your brother or sister is younger and seems determined to make your life difficult, talking it through with parents and possibly getting some space might be helpful.Check out these Communication articles for more tips 

Agreeing to disagree

If you can’t find a compromise, you might have to “agree to disagree” with your sibling.It’s up to you to make your own decisions, based on your experience, beliefs and values.

Violence and safety

If you’re being physically or sexually abused and feel unsafe, it’s important to tell someone. This could be a parent, rusted adult, counsellor, or you can contact the CARI (Children at Risk in Ireland) Foundation helpline on 1890 924 567 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm).

If you would like professional support with anything you are going through turn2me provides free, confidential online supports for young people and adults in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Peer support – A free and safe space where you can find and give support by connecting with other people who have been through similar experiences.
  • Group support -Facilitated by a mental health professional, support groups are a safe space to connect with others and share solutions and coping strategies on a variety of mental health topics.
  • Counselling – Support for whatever you are going through, this is a safe space to talk with a professional counsellor to help you understand your feelings and work together to develop the tools you need to get through tough times.