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How to help siblings friendship last?
33

PrincesseRoyale · 26/01/2022 22:05

Growing up I was not close to my sibling. As adults we spend years without seeing each other. We talk on the phone a couple of times a year.

My 5 year old and 3 year old are very close. DH and I encourage the bond that they have. We never compare or show favourites. We encourage them to share and respect boundaries. They each have special teddies that they do not share. They also have separate interests and activities. They are not together all the time.

I would really like them to maintain that bond growing up. I can’t help thinking that some day DH and I will die. It would be wonderful for them to still have each other.

Can anyone offer any advice?

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Santahasjoinedww · 26/01/2022 22:10

Make sure they are 'allowed' their own special moments. A woman I know gave her youngest a coin whenever the oldest lost a tooth so he wasn't left out. As adults they have zero relationship.. The oldest was never allowed a moment that was just hers.. Very sad to witness that for years.

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PrincesseRoyale · 26/01/2022 22:18

That’s a really good one @Santahasjoinedww thank you for sharing. Star

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M1RR0R · 26/01/2022 22:25

Following as I’d love my 3 to have good adult relationships. I don’t have siblings so I struggle!

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ScheisseMinelli · 26/01/2022 22:38

Model respectful communication, healthy boundaries, and effective conflict resolution in your relationship with their other parent.

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NewtoHolland · 26/01/2022 23:15

I think encouraging positive framing of the relationship too.... So my eldest sometimes gets naturally fed up that the youngest copies her, and I try to say ( when she's simmered down), Do you know why she does that? It's because you're her hero! She wants to be just like you! ...just bigging their relationship up to each other a bit I think helps :)

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Needtogetoffmyphone · 26/01/2022 23:22

As they get older, encourage them to do things just the two of them. If the pattern is all communication goes through mum or dad - then that will stop when you’re not there.

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MsTSwift · 26/01/2022 23:26

Don’t force the younger one on the older one. Read on here about mothers forcing older children with friends over to include younger sibling. Fast track to resentment

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Echobelly · 26/01/2022 23:29

I don't know if there is much one can do really beyond what you are doing, it's not necessarily something one has control over and may depend more on the temperament of your kids. Some characters are made not to rub along well with others whatever you do!

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HopefulRose · 26/01/2022 23:40

This is a really thoughtful post! The fact you're considering this is a good sign for your children.

I grew up with a sister close in age to me and we were pitted against each other at every turn. Even today, family members can't help themselves by comparing us both and making the other feel bad. We've had to work hard to overcome this and we now have a good relationship though I'm sad it's tainted by these external influences.

If you take anything from the above, please continue what you're doing and be wary of anyone ready to point out comparisons between them.

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whiteroseredrose · 26/01/2022 23:41

I'd say not to force it.

My DC had a phase of not getting on (when DS was around 12-13 and DD was 9-10). We didn't force them together but nastiness wasn't tolerated.

When they were both at secondary school they started to get along and are now close (18 and 22).

I just hope that they end up liking each other's spouses. That was the end for my DF and his brother unfortunately.

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mrdarcyfan · 26/01/2022 23:45

Your children can be really close when they are young.It's when they are adults and have partners that don't get along with other family members that the estrangements begin.Enjoy their childhoods.It goes by too quickly.

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Clymene · 27/01/2022 00:17

I'm afraid you absolutely cannot control it. Your children are still babies for a start - their relationship is superficial and based solely on the fact they live in the same house and aren't trying to kill one another. They may maintain it as they become teens but they may not. And they may stay friends as teens and fall out as adults.

The worst thing you can do though is make a big deal out of it.

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suzyscat · 27/01/2022 17:35

I know a lot of siblings who aren't close as children but are BFFs as grown ups.
I also know siblings who were very tight but stopped being so close in their 30s and 40s.

My two are very close knit in lockdown/ isolation/ school holidays but tend to scrap and wind each other up in term time.
Normally I'm anti bribery but I have up and gave them a loyalty jar to fill with marbles. They only get one for not snitching, working as a team or playing nicely. When it's full they get a sharing toy. We all forget about it for long periods of time tbh, but it was great for getting them back into the rhythm of playing nicely, they start by doing it for stuff but then abysmally just have fun and forget. It's worked for us but they're still small.

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TheGirlOnTheLanding · 27/01/2022 17:41

If it's possible, give them their own space so they can escape one another if they're not getting on. My DC have a much happier relationship as teens than me and my DS because they can choose to spend time together and retreat to their rooms when they've had enough, rather than sharing a room. It remains to be seen if this means they'll stay close but they don't fight like we did.

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crabette · 27/01/2022 17:42

I remember once telling my parents on my brother as a kid when he did something naughty. My dad gave my brother into trouble for whatever it was he did, and then immediately gave me into trouble for telling on him. "That's your brother, why are you telling on him?! You're meant to be on each other's team!" I always remembered that one.

We're now in our thirties and definitely still a team!

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MrsTophamHat · 27/01/2022 17:45

@crabette

I remember once telling my parents on my brother as a kid when he did something naughty. My dad gave my brother into trouble for whatever it was he did, and then immediately gave me into trouble for telling on him. "That's your brother, why are you telling on him?! You're meant to be on each other's team!" I always remembered that one.

We're now in our thirties and definitely still a team!

That's a good one!
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Toomuch2do · 27/01/2022 17:47

It sounds like you’ve already got this nailed - but don’t favour one over the other.

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MrsTophamHat · 27/01/2022 17:48

I don't know if you can control it but I feel exactly the same as you. I worry more because I have a boy and a girl so I think it will depend even more on their future partners than if they'd been same sex.

My sister and I are close. We do lots just together; go to the gym, walks, takeaway nights etc. and also a fair bit with our husbands who get on well. I'm never sure how my son and daughter will spend time together in their adult years really.

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ThreeRingCircus · 27/01/2022 17:56

My DDs are also very young (4 and 2) but I try as much as possible to give them my individual attention at least some of the time. I also often say things like "she's your sister and that's a special thing to have, not everyone has a sister" or "we're a family and that means we're a team."

Ultimately though I'm not sure it's something you can control. Just respect them as individuals, don't compare and don't tolerate unkindness.

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Itonlytakesonetree · 27/01/2022 18:01

My parents used to say as a pp did, that I was lucky to have my sibling and we had to look out for each other as we were family. I put up with that shit while I lived at home, but if your sibling is a knob, what can you do?

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Hbh17 · 27/01/2022 18:10

Please don't push it. Some siblings just don't want to be close, & some people find the idea that 'family' has to be prioritised to be completely stifling. They will make their own friends as adults, which may or may not include siblings.

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RedWingBoots · 27/01/2022 18:18

Unfortunately you can't push it.

With siblings close in age their teen and adult relationship can be anything from closeness to apathy to hatred. It depends on the personalities of both of them and while you can control the environment they grow up in e.g. not comparing them with each other, you can't control anything else.

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glitterelf · 27/01/2022 18:25

No matter what you do it's out of your control how close their relationship will be or not. The important thing is to treat your children equally and raise them to be kind and considerate.

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Rainbowshine · 27/01/2022 18:31

Do not force the younger to attend the same groups/hobbies as the older one. I had to endure years of not being as good as my sister at music groups, choirs etc and all I wanted was a group or something of my own where I wouldn’t be X’s younger sister that isn’t any good at music/singing so give her something that isn’t too tricky and she can stand at the back. As soon as I was old enough I would seek out my own activities which then was seen as a betrayal of all the investment in time and money in music. Even teachers were not challenged if comparing us, so I was always the not as clever/accomplished younger sister and it has been really hard to build my confidence in myself as a result.

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CatrinVennastin · 27/01/2022 18:40

I was close to my Dsis until she met her now DH. I think he’s a controlling prick. I think it does depend on who they end up with as a partner
as to how close they will stay in adulthood.

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