January 26, 2011

Sibling Relationships 101:Tips for Updating your Sib Status

Sibling Relationships 101:Tips for Updating your Sib Status

Sometimes folks wonder or worry about how they get along with their brothers and sisters. For example, maybe you get along great with your sister but your brother doesn't or visa versa. Or maybe mom tells you to call your brother because she's worried you're not close enough.

In fact a lot of research has been done on the subject and it has been found that there are many factors which affect the closeness and quality of sibling relationships which are outside our control. Today we're going to talk about some of the factors which influence sibling relationships and suggest some ways to improve them.

FAQ:

-- Q : How many folks have siblings ? A: 80-90%

-- Q:Do sibling relationships naturally get better over time ?  A: Not necessarily. Some studies show relationships improve at middle age, other research indicates increased distance. It all depends.

-- Q: Is there any correlation between the quality of sibling relationship and an individual's quality of life ?  A: The better quality of sibling relationships, the better the over-all, individual level of well being. Folks who have good sibling relationships do better than those who don't.

-- Q: What factor best predicts the quality of adult sibling relationship ? A: The quality of childhood and teen age sibling relationships parallels adult and older age sibling relationships. Life changes like serious illness, divorce and death can be an opportunity for siblings to reconnect.

Understanding plus maturity, i.e. Identifying the relevant factors which can serve as clues to guide you toward better relations. Likewise, the passage of time and growing up helps heal many of the child hood issues. As we get older our perspective matures and we appreciate the importance of continuity and family connections more than when we are young.

It is important to realize that relations with our siblings do not automatically improve over the years. If we're not happy with your sibling relationships it will take understanding and effort to make it better.

Tips for Updating your Emotional Resume for Siblings

1. Identify Complicating factors which make good relations difficult.

2. Understand how things happened and stop the shaming, blaming and taking things personally..

3. Reality test your Perspective. Many folks hold feelings which do not reflect their adult reality but are based on the past.

4. Make an Effort to begin a dialog with your siblings.

Recognizing the factors which are outside of our personal control which shape the nature and quality of our sibling relationships will help replace feeling of shame or blame with understanding.

Knowing these influences can help us to understand the relationships we have with our siblings and help us to better accept them.  In addition, recognizing the factors which are pertinent to our particular situation can also provide important clues for improving our family ties. 

Finally, as we mature our perspective expands and we realize the importance of familial connections. These changes often increase our motivation to know our siblings better and leads to closer ties.

The remarks were prepared by the Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC for Bridge Street 1 26 2011

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