Did you get along with your siblings when you were a child? What’s your relationship with them like now that all of you are adults? Researchers have discovered that brothers and sisters who share parents can have a very different experience from each other. What they found can help parents of today make their kid’s relationship with their siblings into a more positive experience.
An article at Medical Daily was written by Chris Weller. In it, he points out that each kid that has to share his or her parents with their siblings has a different experience – even though they are in the same family. In other words, there isn’t just one “sibling experience”. The reality of what it is like to be a sibling varies.
Why is this so? In part, it is because each sibling has more than one role within the family unit. They are family, of course. Siblings that are somewhat close in age are also peers. Siblings can be friends with each other, which adds another role. Older siblings tend to become guardians of the younger ones. In other words, things are complicated!
There are many adults who do not get along with their siblings. Often, this can be due to an unresolved conflict from when they were little kids or teens. In some cases, it can be due to bullying that one sibling did to another that went on for years without the parents putting a stop to it.
Would you like your kids to grow up into adults who actually want to stay in touch with each other? One thing parents can do is actively teach their children conflict resolution skills. Act as the guide, not the judge, in situations where there is a disagreement. Give your kids the opportunity to practice those skills. Your kids can use those skills as adults to get along with each other, with co-workers, and with romantic partners.
That being said, it is also important for parents to step in and take charge in situations where an argument has escalated to a point where significant emotional or physical damage is likely to happen. There are adults who are still scarred by the abusive words a sibling said to them when they were children.
Parents can also help their first child to adjust to having a new sibling. It is normal for older siblings to feel pushed aside, or less loved by their parents, when a new baby comes home. Parents can take the time to help their first born prepare for the role of being the big sister or big brother. It can also be helpful to make sure the older child is involved in family matters that relate to the new baby.
Image by LoJoLu Photography on Flickr.