Confession: “My sister and I have been at odds since the pandemic…”

Confession: “My sister and I have been at odds since the pandemic…”

Lwandle's pandemic-fueled feud with her sister has escalated, hurting her kids.

Stock image of sisters fighting
Prostock-Studio / iStock

Sisters are built-in best friends, keepers of secrets and sometimes...well, they’re none of the above. 

The pandemic threw a lot of curveballs our way and sibling relationships weren't immune. We recently received this message:

"My sister and I have been at odds since the pandemic. I'm accustomed to her rudeness toward me. But she ignores my kids, even on their birthdays! Do I let it go? What do I do?"

While it's okay to have a complicated dynamic with your sister, however, involving innocent parties (your kids) has an array of downfalls.

So, what can you do? We found a few well-researched methods to hopefully start mending your relationship: 

  • Have an honest conversation (when emotions are not high): Let your sister know how her behaviour affects you and your children. Use "I" statements to express your feelings (e.g., "I feel hurt when you ignore the kids on their birthdays"). Communicating with kindness is key according to experts at Harvard University.
  • Consider a family activity (if the situation allows): Maybe some tension can melt away during a shared experience. Plan something neutral, focusing on having fun together. Shared activities can aid in building positive associations and strengthen bonds, as suggested by research from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California.
  • Set boundaries: If a conversation doesn't go well, you might need to create distance. It's okay to limit interactions or involve your parents for support.

Remember, you can't control your sister's actions but you can control how you respond. Prioritise your children's well-being and don't be afraid to seek outside help if needed.

Through clear communication and boundaries, you might be able to mend the relationship with your sister. In the meantime, focus on creating a positive and loving environment for your kids.

Stacey and J Sbu podcasts

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