Plenty of us have siblings and have bonded by being born into the same family, as well as sharing life experiences. However, the relationship between siblings is not always smooth sailing. It’s what parents fear and children scream about well into adulthood – sibling rivalry. It happens for a multitude of reasons, but is it possible to get to the root of sibling rivalry and resolve the issues?
When it comes to sibling rivalry, children often fight for the attention and acceptance of their parents and become jealous if they feel as though their brother or sister is the favoured child. Don’t aggravate the situation by carrying this through into adulthood – parents have different relationships with each child and, often, feeling less valued than a sibling stems from one’s own insecurities. When we are older, we have the advantage of viewing and interpreting situations more objectively.
LEAN ON OTHERS
Rely on support from other people, either outside your family or other less-immediate members. Sometimes, taking a little breather is the best call, especially if emotions are heightened and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Rather than saying or doing anything you may regret, take a timeout and spend time with people who are not as closely related or involved in the drama. This can serve as a distraction from your familial problems and be a way to gain some third-party insight.
Be open to your siblings making an effort or attempting to re-establish a relationship. Open the doors of communication, rather than shutting them out. While they may have made mistakes in the past (who hasn’t?) the fact that they are showing enough emotional maturity to make a move in a positive direction or apologise for causing distress is admirable, and being receptive to that may help you to forge a new-and-improved bond with each other.
Sometimes a person can have deep-seated resentment or jealousy towards their siblings. Sound familiar? If you feel as though you can’t figure out your sibling rivalry on your own, there is no shame in reaching out for help. Sometimes conflict between family members can’t be solved without professional input, in which case it may be wise to visit a counsellor, either alone or with your sibling. This way, you can be advised on how to start sifting though the problems between you and them, work on the relationship and move forward.
SHOW SOME LOVE
It should probably go without saying that, despite the differences between you, showing your sibling some love can go a long way in helping to heal a fractured relationship. Try your best to let them know that you are there for them, you’re proud of them, and you support them. But do it in a way they will appreciate, make sure not to impose what you need on them. Sibling rivalry can often come from being different, acknowledge and accept these differences. This should put an end to any need for one-upmanship between you. After all, as the saying goes, blood is thicker than water, and being there for your siblings (within reason) can help to maintain happiness and harmony within the family unit.