The Importance of Healthy Sibling Relationships

The Importance of Healthy Sibling Relationships

As we celebrate the National Siblings Day next week (April 10th), we decided to catch up with our Chief Mudder, Natasha, to talk about the importance of a healthy sibling relationship.

Read on to find out how having brothers and sisters can positively impact your life.

I am lucky enough to love my sisters and brother very much and it does not surprise me at all that research shows that siblings can help you for life. In more detail the research shows that having positive relationships with siblings can lead to higher life satisfaction and lower rates of depression as you get older. Also in times of illness and traumatic events, siblings provide emotional, social, and psychological support to each other. Research shows that this support is common regardless of whether sisters and brothers live nearby or far away from each other.

Here are three reasons why sibling relationships are very important:

1. Friendships may come and go, but you’re stuck with your sibling. This relationship is oftentimes one of the longest relationships in a person’s life.

2. Sibling relationships are authentic. Often siblings grow up in the same environment, share the same parents, and share common memories and similar experiences.

3. Our siblings are our family tree. They are a part of who we are and that relationship is a shared history that makes this unique relationship invaluable. How do you encourage and promote a healthy sibling relationship?

Here are my top tips for building healthy sibling relationships:

• Start early. Parents encourage respect among siblings from the get go. Don’t tolerate negative and harmful behaviours in the sibling relationship.

• Provide your children with opportunities to share time and activities with you. Be wary of sibling rivalry and try to “nip it in the bud” if you see it beginning to occur.

• Avoid showing favouritism. This is probably the most common reason for sibling resentment. Let your children know that you value each and every one of them by making one-on-one time for each child. Set aside some time to spend with your children. This will help them feel special and appreciated.

• Set a time for family meetings (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly). Get together with all of the family to talk freely about grievances, issues, and celebrations. Give each person a chance to speak about what’s on his/her plate and then focus on finding solutions to the problems.

• Encourage healthy communication between siblings. If they have disagreements allow them to work it out in a healthy way. Teach them how to negotiate and compromise (give and take) and how to look for win-win solutions. You may have to help them establish the rules and guide them at first, but once they are able to do it on their own, stand back. 

• As children get older, encourage them to maintain a relationship or to do things together. This can become more of a task when they are teens and have independent lives, but a little family time built into each month is a great way to encourage this relationship.

• Most parents want nothing more than their children to get along. Siblings are essential to child development. The benefits of a healthy sibling relationship can last a lifetime. Throughout the years they can become supportive friends

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