How to Keep Calm When I Want to Strangle My Siblings

My little sisters annoy me all the time and we always get in fights. I’m sick of fighting with them but it’s so hard to stay calm when they drive me crazy all the time. Do you have any idea of a way I could try to stay calmer so I don’t end up fighting with them so much and getting into trouble?

-Super Frustrated

Dear Super Frustrated,

I’m sorry that you’re so frustrated by your younger sisters. Younger siblings can definitely push our buttons at times. Hopefully, as you all get older, you can get past your issues with each other and even become friends. That probably sounds crazy right now, but trust me: it’s possible. For now, try using the Rule of 5. I heard about this at a teaching conference. I’m not sure who first came up with this concept, and many have called it by similar names, but it’s something that anyone can use in stressful situations.

The Rule of 5: when you’re angry or frustrated, force yourself to take a few deep breaths and think about the situation in terms of 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, and 5 years. Let’s say your sister wore your brand new t-shirt without asking. Will this matter in 5 weeks, 5 months, or 5 years? You might still be mad about it in 5 hours, and it may even still rub you the wrong way in 5 days, but you’ll probably forget about it after that. It won’t be the kind of thing that you’ll bring up years down the road, saying, “I’m still so mad at you for wearing that awesome t-shirt 5 years and 3 days ago!” By taking a step back from the situation and looking at it in this way, you’re able to learn to pick your battles. Getting along with siblings can be tough, but the more we practice thinking it through and walking away, the better off we’ll be in the long run.

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