My Brother and I Fight All the Time!

How can we get past our differences and learn to get along?
Page 1 of 6

My Brother and I Fight All the Time!

My brother is a year younger than I, and we fight all the time. We both go to church, and attend our youth group. But he's not interested in really living for Christ. He uses bad language and listens to a lot of raunchy music. We used to have a great brother/sister relationship, and I'd like to have that again. How can we get past our differences and learn to get along?

Restoring your relationship is going to take patience, understanding and a lot of commitment on your part. With that in mind, there are a few things you need to remember.

First, think about other relationships in your life. I'll bet each of them has had ups and downs. Even best friends argue, disagree and think differently about important issues. But when you are committed to a friendship, you're willing to work through those differences and repair the friendship. The same is true in your relationship with your brother. So don't let yourself get too worried that the way things are right now is the way they will be forever.

Also, realize your brother may be going through a rebellious stage in his life. But no matter how he acts on the outside, he most likely still needs to feel loved and cared for. By sticking by him and continuing to show him you care, you'll send an invaluable message to your brother—one that says your love is permanent and unconditional.

To show your brother that kind of love, you need to focus on what's right in your relationship. Think about some of the things you have in common. Do you both like sports? Is there a movie or TV show that always makes you two laugh? Anything that helps you stay connected with your brother can help get you through this tough time.

Even if you can't find any common interests, you can still connect with your brother by expressing interest in his life. Yes, he's listening to music you find offensive, but do your best not to judge your brother. If you really want to be close to him again, you won't get very far by criticizing him or pointing out all the ways he's messing up. Instead, continue to show your brother God's love through your patience and care.

Finally, watch out for your brother. His change in behavior may indicate other, more dangerous changes, like alcohol or drug use. You don't need to spy on him, but be aware of who he's hanging out with and what kind of things he's doing after school. If you become concerned about anything, talk to your parents or another trusted adult, like your youth pastor.

Most importantly, pray for your brother. Ask God to be with him and to guide his decisions. And ask for God's wisdom as you work to repair your relationship.

After all of this, remember that your brother may not respond the way you want him to. But be patient. Hopefully, he will move out of this phase. My guess is that he really does want to be close to you too, but he may not know how.

I know a brother and sister who are very close. They are each married and have their own families now, but even their families are the best of friends. They told me it wasn't always this way. After I read your letter, I called them and asked their advice. I think their answer is worth repeating: "Even in the most difficult times, try not to do permanent damage to the relationship and don't give up. A brother/sister relationship is a lifelong relationship, and when your brother gets through this awkward stage he will again look to your relationship as a priority."

Page 1 of 6

read these next

Taking the "I" Out of Holiday

Taking the "I" Out of Holiday

I discovered the holidays were bigger than me and it changed everything.
Torn by Divorce

Torn by Divorce

I feel like I have all this pressure on me to choose between friends or family.
Shopping