How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry During a Crisis

I see it all the time – a loved one is ill, dying or has died and old wounds between siblings rise to the surface. Not only does it add to the pain of the experience, it causes conflict and stress.

In this week’s episode, I provide five (5) tips to guide you and your siblings during a crisis.



1. Be open, honest, compassionate and respectful. There is no room for a bully to come into and push others around. Each person is going through the experience in their own way, and each person deserves to be heard with compassion and respect. As you speak to your siblings, be kind, be respectful, and do not use your words or your actions to inflict pain, guilt or shame.

2. Come together as a family. This is an opportunity for you to come together for the sake of your loved one. Use this opportunity to heal old wounds by using understanding and forgiveness. If you take into consideration that we do better when we know better, looking to past hurts with an understanding that a mistake may have been made, the intent was not to hurt, and if they knew better, they would have done better, you can take a step to forgive. Forgiveness is not for the other person. It is for you.

3. Follow the guidance of professionals. Allow the medical team, the support team, and other experts and professionals guide you as you journey through this experience. They have helped hundred and thousands of families before yours. Listen to their recommendations. Discuss them as a family. And follow their guidance as you move forward together.

4. Be gentle on yourself and others. In addition to the above, this means being flexible, allowing others to make mistakes, allowing yourself to feel your pain and knowing it’s ok. Being gentle on yourself and others will give you and your siblings the space you need to feel what you are going through without judgement or criticism.

5. Use facts, not emotions, to solve challenges and issues that arise during the crisis. Get clear on the facts. Understand what they mean. Make decisions and take action based on the facts and not solely on how you feel.

As you and your siblings go through this crisis together, know that you are all in it together. Do not let your words or actions pull you apart. Instead, allow them to bring you together.

Need additional help, reach out to me. Post your comments and additional suggestions in the comment section below.

Have a question? Email me and I will answer it in a future episode. No question is a bad question and I’m happy to help.

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