Monday, June 24, 2013

Sibling Rivalry

by Kate Collins

I read an article in this week's Parade Magazine entitled, "The Science of Siblings."  There were a lot of research results in it, such how the stereotypes of the firstborn, middle and lastborn children are based in fact, and how important it is for parents to be fair and show no impartiality.  I'm very happy to say my mother was extremely fair and always loved us equally, and I have striven to follow her example with my own children.

What surprised me about the article was how important sibling relationships continue to be in adulthood, especially in middle age and beyond. According to experts, there's what is called "sibling drift", where siblings move away, start careers, and have families, with little time to connect. Then in middle age, as other loved ones pass away, siblings become important sources of comfort and support.

In fact, according to this article, the happiest, healthiest and least lonely people have strong sibling relationships. Again, I thank my mother for helping my sister, brother and I achieve that. It's not that we agree on everything or think alike, (I can hear them chortling now) but we do share a strong bond that we've made a priority to keep.

Do you think sibling support is necessary? Are you close or on good terms with your siblings?


Cynnara said...

Wow, what a great topic. I must admit, growing up in our family, my sisters and I were close- yet depending on who it was, there were close as in trying to murder the other or close as in borrowing the clothes of the other. We did share some things in common which helped us all to get along as we're all 3 years apart.

Now that we're all older- 30s and 40s, we have a better relationship now than we did when we were younger. I think we can appreciate each other better. There are still differences, yeah, there are some doozies, but we're laid back so the differences are like "yeah so she's a brat when she's hormonal, whatever" kind of things. (I'm glad my sisters don't hang out here, I'll be getting the dead roses in the mail!)

There are stunts we've done that we've shared with our kids-- mine are the oldest and my middle sister's little girl is the baby (she's going to be 3!). But we all agreed that the glory and shame of growing up us would be equally shared so the kids would know that they can't get away with anything. Joint parent pact! So since they tattled on me first, I'll get the last laugh since their kids are now hitting the ages of wanting to know what it was like when they were young. *insert evil laughter here*

LD Masterson said...

Geography has separated my brother and I since we left home but last month we (including our respective spouses) went on a cruise together. Our fist vacation together since we were kids. It was wonderful.

Kate Collins said...

I hope you get to do that again. My sister and brother and I began taking a 5 day vacation together after our mother died as a way to remember her. It's a special time and keeps us bonded.

Kate Collins said...

You have a wonderful relationship with your sisters! Like you, I've grown closer to mine in adulthood, and even more so when our mother got cancer and then died. Our closeness helped us cope.
And isn't it fun to share those funny times in childhood with kids? My kids love to hear that kind of story.

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ladyvyvian said...

I had 3 brothers, being the only girl and we fought like cats and dogs, especially one just younger than me. But things changed as we got older and we helped each other as needed. I spent the last 18 years of his life sharing a house with my oldest brother who never married. He passed away last year from cancer. We had lost the youngest brother in 2009. I now have only one brother left and he lives in Georgia while I live in Texas. We are trying to keep in touch more often by phone and computer since I cannot travel and he is still working and so does not have much time off to visit. I have one daughter and my biggest regret is that she does not have a sibling. Her father had 2 children by his first marriage but they are so much older they were never close although she and her brother do have some contact. Family is very important.