Tag Archive | Siblings

Sibling visits

portrait-of-three-young-african-american-siblingsThe last two months have been a real blessing to me. I was able to visit with both my twin sister who lives 3,000 miles back east, and my brother who lives in the middle east.

We were all pretty close while we were growing up, but my twin and I are 6 years older than my brother.When we went to college it left a huge gap in our relationship with him. By the time we all graduated from college, we were dispersed all over the country. Careers, marriages, and children pulled us apart even further. I don’t think people realize how important the sibling relationship is, or how important it will become as we get older.

Siblings provide different types of support for each other as they age. As losses and health issues increase with age, siblings rely on each other more and more for social support.

One researcher, Goetting (1986, as cited in Cicirelli, 1995), believes that the amount of help that siblings give each other during adulthood and old age is based on their childhood and adolescent relationships. Once they leave home as young adults, the amount of help that they give one another is based on the similarity of their roles and their feelings of affection. During early and middle adulthood, they provide companionship, emotional support, and occasionally financial support for each other. They can usually be relied on for help during times of crisis, and typically cooperate with each other in order to care for their elderly parents. With advanced age, support from siblings becomes very important.

I miss my siblings, but we’re in touch often. I’ll always look forward to our special visits, and cherish the time we spend together.

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Siblings shape who you are

two-sisters-with-brotherApril 10th was National Sibling Day, to honor the relationships of siblings

About 80 percent of people  have at least one brother or sister. Having a sibling goes a long way toward determining what kind of person you are, or have become. The sibling relationship is also the longest relationship that most people will have in their lives. Many psychoanalysts now believe that people can be shaped as much or more by their siblings than their parents.

My siblings have certainly had an impact on my life. Being a twin brings a whole different light on the sibling situation for me.  My brother is 6 years younger than us, and I’ve always wondered how our twin relationship has impacted him.

Here are some ways that siblings impact your life:

Stress Reducer – Siblings help reduce stress. I was a particularly “home sick” child (wimp) in my younger years. I hated new things, and change. My sister and I did everything together including “Camp Wind-in-the-Pines” Girl Scout camp. Worst trip of my life (no offense to Girl Scout Camp)!  Guess who was there to hold my hand (literally), and console me throughout the trip?  Yup, she hung right in there with me, even if it meant that she had to constantly explain to people why I was crying. What a trooper. Thanks Sis!

Tolerance – Siblings have fights 6 to 10 times an hour depending on the age groups. While these fights might be a headache to parents, they help  provide good training for interacting with peers. No matter what you say or do, your sibling will be there tomorrow at the dinner table.  Siblings learn to negotiate and compromise; and to tolerate the negative emotions that crop up in life. Fighting with my siblings happened often enough to give me strength for what I believed, but it also taught me love and compassion.

Inspire Differences – Some kids strive to be like their siblings, and some strive to be opposite. A sibling can help you find your own identity. My sister certainly helped me do that. My twin has always had a strong sense of nurturing for me and my brother. Sometimes it could be overbearing, but it helped both me and my brother realize that we needed to make our own decisions, independent of one another.

Sibling Jealousy – Young adults who felt their siblings were favored by parents as kids had lower self-esteem, and were more likely to foster feelings of jealousy, and sibling rivalry.  We were blessed to have parents that looked at each of us as individuals. We all brought different talents and abilities to the table, and we were honored specially for those gifts that we had. There was never any measuring, or worrying about making  things equal in my family. It taught us to respect and be proud of our sibling’s special opportunities and accomplishments. To this day, I couldn’t be prouder of both my brother and my sister’s accomplishments.

So in honor of National Sibling Day… Thank you to my siblings for helping make me who I am today.  I love you both!