If you have a brother, a sister, or a few of both, you know siblings can be super frustrating. They pick fights, they take over the TV, they borrow your stuff without telling you. “The sibling relationship is really complicated,” says Claire Lerner, a social worker specializing in child development. “There’s lots of love, and also lots of feelings—competition, comparing, vying for your parents’ attention.” Thanks to Covid- 19, all these tough feelings are probably magnified, because your siblings may be your sole option for IRL socialization.
Even if you get along well with your sibs most of the time, you probably have days you wish you were an only child. That’s totally normal, but the sibling relationship has benefits you might not be aware of. Siblings teach us how to share, communicate, manage conflict, and have someone else’s back. Those are skills you’ll need if you ever want to live with a roommate, get along with co-workers, or enjoy harmonious relationships with friends and romantic partners. So instead of thinking of your siblings as those people hogging the remote and eating all the cereal, think of them as free, live-in life coaches. Read on for tips from experts and teens about how to coexist peacefully with even the most frustrating types of brothers and sisters.