How to Make Amends with an Estranged Sibling

Updated March 23, 2017

Growing up together can create a combination of intense love along with jealousy, competition and loyalty. A brother or sister can be both your best friend and sometimes enemy. Most siblings have times of peace and times of conflict. It's a natural part of growing up and growing apart. Yet, we all need our family. Siblings are the best path to our past, and the people most likely to be tied to us in love for life. It is possible to have a great relationship with your sibling regardless of your past. Put the past in its place, and make amends with your sibling today.

Apologise. It seems basic, but it is a very important part of making amends. Evaluate the situation, and think of what it is that you truly regret. Express this with sincerity, and be honest in talking to him about what divides the two of you. It's best to do this in person. If distance is a factor or the sibling does not want to meet up with you, make the apology over the phone.

Say the positive things you've always wanted to say. We all have things that go unexpressed. It's hard to tell a teenage sibling how much you love them, and it gets harder to come together as life naturally pulls you in a separate direction. There are many things that you've appreciated over the years about your sibling that you haven't been able to tell him. Make sure he knows how much you appreciate what he's done for you over the years. Write a letter of appreciation, and read it over before speaking with your sibling. Depending on the relationship that the two of you have, you could opt to tell him what is in the letter, or you could actually give him a letter of thanks.

Discuss the elephant in the room. In order to have a great relationship with your adult sibling, discuss what really went on in your youth. If there are questions that need to be answered, ask them now. Leaving the problems of the past unsolved will fuel them until they reach the point of never being manageable. Make sure you are on the same page about your past. While you definitely want this new amended relationship to be about fostering a fantastic future, it is important to put the past in its place by dealing with it, rather than simply ignoring it.

Lay it out on the table. Ask him what he wants in the family relationship. Express what your expectations are, and reveal what you are willing to do create that sort of relationship. Make promises, and truly stick to them in order to make amends long-term with your brother or sister.

Reach out to the mate and children of your sibling. His own family is as important as the nuclear family that you were a part of growing up. As you make amends with your sibling, work to create a fantastic relationship with his family. Offer to babysit nieces or nephews, and never miss a birthday or anniversary.

Make a pact. This can be verbal or written if you want extra emphasis. State all that you will be and do for your sibling, and reaffirm that you are brothers for life. Nothing can tear you apart if you have respect, open communication and unconditional love for your sibling.


Express your love and positive feelings freely. A sibling is someone you're allowed to love unconditionally for life.


Never try to make amends via text messages, e-mails or instant messages. Tone and sincerity can never be conveyed within text messages, and they can do more harm than good.

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About the Author

Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.