In this blog, I wished to share a few reflections around the bond between brothers and sisters; the sibling relationship. Looking back at our childhood when growing up with siblings, probably many of us can remember so many memories of times where we were angry and frustrated at our siblings, or where we were annoyed at what our siblings did. Our siblings were probably the children with whom our parents would have asked us share our favorite toys, and to be nice to when they would have wanted to watch a different cartoon on television.
But as frustrating or annoying as their behavior might have been at times when we were children (or maybe even older than that), think about it, for many of us, our older brothers and sisters were in our lives since our birth, and we were present in the lives of our younger siblings since their birth. Siblings are, for many, the ones we would have experienced our childhood and upbringing with. This may leave space for a very special bond between siblings where even in our older age, this bond can trigger or provide us with a strong sense of origin, familiarity and home.
Like other relationships in our life, the sibling relationship also requires nourishment in order to keep this special bond alive. We often tend to acknowledge that our romantic relationships and friendships require this nourishment, care and respect, but probably due to the sibling relationship’s foundation in childhood, we may take it for granted. When growing up, it is part of the process of many to distance ourselves from the family of origin in order to differentiate ourselves, to experiment with different ways of being which might not be the same as how these were in our family of origin. While our childhood memories with our siblings remain intact, we would often not know each other as adults as well as we knew each other as children following this process. It is because of this that part of forming a mature sibling relationship as adults, is getting to know our siblings again as an adult within the new contexts in our lives. Keeping an active interest in knowing what is going on in your sibling’s life, in making new memories with them and in finding space in each other’s lives for each other might support you in maintaining a beautiful relationship and bond with your brother or sister.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships.