Trouble getting along with my sister


Hello everyone! I’d like your help with a little issue of mine. I am 17 years old and have five younger siblings, one of which is my 9-year-old sister. I always have a hard time being patient with her out of all of my other siblings, no matter how irritating they get. My 15-year-old sister can throw insults at me and I take it calmly, and I can also calmly handle my 4-year-old brother screaming and trying to pummel me when he throws one of his tantrums, but when it comes to the tiniest irritation concerning 9-year-old sister I suddenly lose all patience and charity. I am mean to her and am always pointing out her faults in front of her. It really upsets me, and I wish I would stop! But when I am around her I’m filled with such awful disdain.

I hate it when criticism comes pouring out of my mouth before I can stop it. She is pretty much the only person I ever have this problem with, and I’m worried that that is my fault. When she was about six we used to be very good friends, but not anymore. And since this problem started she has begun reciprocating my unkindness. I don’t want to cause her to become a horrible person! How can I fix this?

How can I become more patient, and stop myself from being unkind to her in the heat of the moment? Should I try escaping from the situation? Do I need to force myself to be friends with her? She is my sister, after all. I wish that I could be a good role model!

Thank you for reading through all of this. I will greatly appreciate any help you can offer me!


The mere fact that you feel this way tells me that you are a good sister. Perhaps you being so critical is because you see yourself in her. Beside trying to practice kindness and charity the only other thing you can do is apologize if an when you offend. Finally, and more importantly you may need to examine what exactly are your triggers with her and try in the meantime to avoid them. I bet if you really examine yourself, you will find that the reason you fight so much is because you are probably more alike than you imagine and expect more from her. Good Luck:)


I agree with the above poster. The fact that you are trying to solve the problem makes you an excellent sister.

I’m afraid that I don’t have a lot of great advice, but I know something that works well for me when I am very angry with someone, or know that I am around someone I can get in a fight with, is to pray for them regularly. Not for things like God to change them, but for good things to happen to them. It’s hard to do at first, but if you pray for good things for them, you are hoping the best for them, and it will change your attitude for them.


Your younger sister probably subconsciously reminds you of yourself at that age or something about yourself you really don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable. Basically it sounds like your sister triggers emotions in you that are not appropriate for the present situation. We don’t have control over our emotions but we do have control over how we act even within those emotions. I recommend you find a good solid (orthodox - meaning fully in line with Church teaching) spiritual director (ask your priest for a recommendation if you don’t feel comfortable talking to him). Someone who can help you sort through your feelings and put them in the right place (usually that place is the past).

This isn’t something that will change in an instant but rather will take time and effort. Give it your absolute best effort to be kind to your sister even (and especially) when she is being unkind to you. You recognize that you may be contributing to her actions by being an example - now is the time to be an example of repentance and a desire for reconciliation. That means apologizing for your actions and admitting that you were wrong. You don’t have to apologize for everything you’ve ever done to her (although I do recommend you go to Confession - it would give you a great starting over place of peace) but in the future if you are unkind, admit it with a sincere apology.

Pray, pray, and pray. Ask God to grant you patience both towards your sister and towards yourself as you move closer to him in all ways.

So to recap: find a spiritual director, reconcile if you fall in the future, and pray.

Hope this helps. Christ’s peace be with you.


Where are your parents? They should be have rules about the level of respect and “fighting” that goes on in the house.


Good for you for recognizing this problem with your sister, and wanting to correct it before it leads to a life long estrangement and hard feelings! Try to think back over the last three years and remember what it was that started your ill feelings toward her. If you two could call a truce and talk about it together, that would be even better. Once you find out and admit what it was that started it all, you can then deal with it. She may never be your favorite sibling, but at least you can have a friendly, peaceful realationship.


I commend you for your own self-realization in this. You need to keep close with all your siblings. I think what makes this hard is that you are the oldest and by default most times, you are the third parent. I cannot tell you how important, how detrimental it is that you stay on good terms with all your siblings as they see you as the starter example and confidant in their lives.

I felt that my older sister wanted more artificial aspects of me like the drive to be more popular and rich, than meek and humble. This has unfortunately led us to not the closest relationship as adults. We tolerate each other and it is the best we can do.

When I look back, I truly wish we had more quality time together, one that could teach me about the perils of life and how to fix them instead of complain or add to problems. I felt like a misguided child most of the time, and anytime I ask her for help, she ended up confusing me further. LOL I suppose that is what moms are for. Mom just had a better teaching technique. I have to accept her as she is. I, as the older sister to our little sister tried to do that and I think I did a good job…, ie. explaining the evil with credit cards, and hypocrisies of both liberals and conservatives…, I wanted her to be her own person and find out who she is, so that if anyone called her on anything she would always know where she stood and how certain she was in any situation. Above all else, I always used parables of the bible and true life stories to teach her right from wrong, good from bad, and security from harmful intent.


Maybe you have high expectations from this sibling over the others, maybe you were in an alliance together against the others. I cannot stress more keeping it as close to even with all of them, and doing that little extra effort to know what is in their hearts and who they want to become in life, and being the all-knowing sibling that can help them achieve/teach them those aspects to get them off ground (no pressure, really). LOL

Something so small as teaching the household how to recycle, or saving up enough babysitting money to treat the sibs to ice cream once a season or semester, or asking the parents to assign duty/responsiblity, so everyone is in charge of something, or staging your own American Idol at home (just anything really)…, these miniscule ideas can have a profound effect on them in seeing you as the responsible one and you gaining more favor and respect from them. Now it doesn’t always work and you are no more perfect than your parents or sibs…, but just remember that actions speak louder than words. They will always remember you for what they saw you do.

As far as the talking back is concerned, if you never warranted any suggestion or behavior that led to any of the irritations, then you need to speak to your parents about that, AS LONG AS you do not do that either. Patience, which is something I struggle with, is something that is a true divine gift, how much we must let ignorance go over our heads, or people with slow inclinations or work ethics to gain and maintain speed, huh? It all takes time, but being the prime example gives everything a smoother run.

Praying all goes well for you!


I was so surprised to see so many responses! Thank you so much for all your advice!

Several of you mentioned that perhaps I get irritated with my sister when I’m subconsciously reminded of myself when I was her age. I remember that once my mother said the same thing to me a while back, and now that I think of it, it is probably somewhat true. I’m probably taking out on her my dislike of some of my own faults I see in her.

I see, too that I need to pray! I really liked Whitacre_Girl’s suggestion that I pray for my sister in order to change my attitude toward her. I’ll definitely do that, and I’ll pray for myself, too, since I know I need it.

I also really liked OLHope’s idea of doing little extra things once in a while for my siblings. I remember when my sister was a baby and I was her age I had dreams of what a good big sister I was going to be, and my own ideas then were very similar to what you mentioned! I’ll try and be more like my ideal back then.

I’m going to tell my sister sorry, and start off differently. I know she’ll be totally willing to forgive. I don’t really disdain her all the time, and I know that this problem can be fixed with some better action on my part. Again, thank you all so much!


We don’t have specific rules, except for physical violence with the younger kids, which is just not allowed, and if we are disrespectful to our parents we get corrected. It hasn’t really been so much as “fighting”, though, between me and my sister - it’s more like frequent rudeness and lack of civility. I wish my parents held me to rules a bit more. It would be humiliating for me when I slipped up, but it would prevent me from doing it again. I suppose I just have to make rules for myself!


You’ve already received a lot of good advice. Also consider doing one of your sister’s chores-her least favorite chore- (or something else nice for her, and try to keep it a secret too) each time you act rudely towards her. Remind yourself that she is a little girl who needs a lot of love and a caring big sister to help her grow into the beautiful woman God intends for her to be. We never know how many more days we will be able to share with someone in this life. Let her know you love her.
Good luck!

adding: I have one big sister, 14 years older than me, and we didn’t always get along when I was little…but we’re so close now, couldn’t imagine life without her! Make some good memories for your little sis! :slight_smile:


i see you already have very very good advice…

my two cents:
talk to your sister (use a letter or something so you can be calm) and TELL HER that you feel bad, that she doesnt deserve this, and you dont know why you are mean to her. and that you will TRY to stop… but that you love her and its NOT herfault

say a Hail Mary every time you are about to t alk to her 9or some other short prayer)


Very good idea…to tell her it is NOT her fault and you know this, even as you are still working on changing your behavior.

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