Kids fight with their siblings, whether it’s over where to sit at the dinner table, or who gets to cut Barbie’s hair. As adults, it’s important to have meaningful connections with our brothers and sisters. Since eight out of 10 people have at least one sibling, some psychologists think that our relationships with our brothers and sisters are at least as important as our relationship with our parents. One big way siblings help us? They buffer stress. Judith Dunn is a developmental psychologist at King’s College London. Her research shows that having a brother or sister adds an extra level of protection and moral support, especially during stressful events like a separation or divorce. So, here are a few ways to get closer to your siblings, courtesy of Real Simple magazine.
- Remember: Childhood is like Vegas – what happened there should stay there. Jane Isay is a family relationship expert and she says don’t give yourself a guilt trip over the mind games you played on your brother, and stop accusing your sister of stealing your boyfriend in 1985. Make a conscious effort to forgive these childhoods wrongs, and your relationship will improve.
- Make a cameo appearance. Sure, you’re going to show up at the big obligatory events: weddings, graduations and holiday dinners. That’s part of being a family. Isay says that showing up unexpectedly at your brothers 5K run or at your sister’s golf tournament, is really going to mean something to them.
- Be great texting buddies! Isay says the occasional hour-long talks are nice, but you’re more likely to super-charge your bond by having frequent casual chats. This is where technology comes in. Text messaging from a bus stop, tweeting at them from a concert, and commenting on Facebook updates makes it really easy to connect more often and become part of each other’s day-to-day lives.