How wild are your siblings

How do we survive our siblings? : The brother-sister survival tactic

Brothers and sisters are in the same boat. Regardless of whether you are still in the middle of it - in the compulsory shared flat with your own siblings or if you have already grown up and moved out. Our brothers and sisters will always be a part of our lives and thus forever have the potential to get on our nerves, to hurt us, to patronize us or even to make us jealous.

Every sibling remembers a dozen exciting, mean, happier, funnier, sad and often more or less traumatic stories offhand - from living together with their own brothers and sisters. Fortunately, there are some useful "survival tricks" on how to best learn to deal with them. Some of them should be shared at this point. One thing in advance: Everything about living together with siblings (including these tips) should not be taken too seriously and live according to the motto: "Humor is the button that prevents us from bursting our necks".


Personal property? Never heard! We siblings know this problem only too well: the fallacy often circulates among brothers and sisters that everything, no matter how private it may be, somehow belongs to the common good. Now you could get upset every time anew that your greedy sister or the cunning brother has stolen something again - but experience has shown that it is much more effective to prepare intensively for an "emergency". In plain language: If I have found or received something that should from now on belong only to me, I never let it out of my sight or rather hide ten bags of gold coins better than pirates. Unobserved chocolate bunnies, cookie boxes or toys are like fair game and are quickly captured by the enemy. Please note: Never hide all valuables in the same place. The likelihood that personal supplies will continue to exist is significantly increased by different storage locations.


It is tempting to choose the same sport or hobby as your sister or brother. However, it is not the most peaceful variant. Rather look for your very own area in which you are good and in which you can celebrate successes. So you don't have in the back of your mind how well your sister or brother did in the same competition or how well they did in the same test. This is called de-identification, it means that each sibling looks for its own niche within the family. So you don't get in each other's way so much. The reason for this: Demarcation reduces competition. If you don't even start in the same discipline as your siblings, the bottom line is that it is easier to get the admiration and attention of outsiders and parents.


Vacation with the family can be nice, but it is often also a minefield, riddled with sleepless, irritable, chronically bored, overworked or dissatisfied participants * of different age groups. The good news is: there are books, films, comics, and music. And with all these mental "escape opportunities" we should equip ourselves en masse with siblings before every vacation. Even if it's just for an emergency. For my inner peace of mind, I would immediately forego a third pair of shoes or four sweaters so as not to waste space in my suitcase. Books, MP3 players, audio books, e-book readers, tablets and everything else that can distract me and help me drift into another world should definitely be on the vacation packing lists of people with siblings and carefully checked off.


Yes, that's right, we have all heard this saying many times, but we often underestimate how important it actually is. Especially when it comes to privacy. A topic that is paradoxically so omnipresent for many siblings, precisely because of their absence, like no other. Example: Everyone bursts into their own room all the time. Sounds like a hopeless case, but it can be brought under control with the right tactics: Sounds simple, but if you want your privacy to be respected, you should do the same with others yourself. Not only because it is fair and of course should be handled that way, but also and above all because you need a good basis of argument to support yourself and your claims in the event of a dispute. If you have always adhered to the privacy rules yourself, you can confidently throw the question into the room if you violate them, "When have I ever disregarded YOUR privacy so ruthlessly"? If you've always played fairly, your siblings could theoretically only answer with "never". Don't get too hopeful though, they will probably never actually say it, but if they think about it, they will at least notice in retrospect that you - unlike them - have always obeyed the rules and they could with a bit of luck you might think


If, despite numerous verbal hints, it happens again and again that family members do not knock or a loud and clear “no” to the question “can I come in” either out of pure intent or accidentally with the somewhat similar-sounding answer “sure "Please come into my room as fast and stormy as possible" - then it is advisable to resort to harder methods. These could, for example, be easy-to-follow signals on the room door, such as "Do not disturb" or “Please turn around again immediately and never approach this door again, thank you!” Unfortunately, it happens all too often that such signs on the room door are not confirmed by reality and still everyone burst in - whenever it suits them There is good news: We still have an ace up our sleeve to decide this fight for us. After all, as a child and adolescent you enjoy an advantage, which unfortunately you only have a very small part of your life. We're talking about universally applicable referees: our parents! In adult life one so often wishes for a neutral observer who has the power to establish justice at the push of a button. For example, someone who pulls the ears of the brazen juggernaut on the tram and makes it clear to him that he should kindly stop pushing - just like the parents did when they were children. And sometimes the parent judges have to point out violations of community rights and privacy violations in a very targeted manner. In this case, this has nothing to do with sneaking, but rather with demanding your own rights. Take advantage of it while you still can.


In some situations it can also help to switch to the “If you don't want to hear, you have to feel” mode. Hold the mirror up to your siblings, that sometimes helps a lot to clarify your own point of view. Anyone who constantly violates all the basic rules of living together and does not understand this wrongdoing must be shown how it feels when someone just bursts in or behaves unfairly in other ways. Try first with sentences like "Imagine how you would find it if I did ...". So show them their behavior! And if that doesn't help, then it's time to ring in level two: Sit in your room yourself at every opportunity and shout “You see, that's exactly how it feels when someone just bursts in”. Do this, I call it an “extended mirror exercise”, for about one to three days and then try again calmly with a conversation and the repeated offer: Like you for me, like me for you. Perhaps you will agree in this way to both stop doing it from now on and in the best case even reach a ceasefire.

The author, the book and her siblings:

Katja Schwarz, 28 years old, has had a lot of formative experiences with her sister Tina (31, left in the picture) and brother Tobias (23). Despite room rules broken a thousand times over, stolen favorite clothes and betrayed sins, their relationship has only grown deeper over the years. She has the very ironic book about this experience "How to survive with siblings" written, published by Scharzkopf & Schwarzkopf (9.99 euros). The printed text is a short version revised by the author. Her personal assessment: “We only learn to appreciate the greatest thing about our siblings when we are adults. Before that, the presence of a brother or sister is just too natural. But then a sibling relationship is like an ace up your sleeve that you can pull at any time as soon as you lose your footing in life, need help or just look for a common gift for the parents. In any case, it is a connection that lasts forever. "

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