Sibling Dynamics

Growing up an only child, I was very naive about family dynamics.  My only real role models for sibling interaction came from my mother and her brother and two sisters.  As adults they got along famously, always enjoying being together once or twice a year and filling the house with laughter.  So, I based my view of sibling interactions on them and firmly believed that all brothers and sisters loved each other and were connected in a special way that gave them a “forever” bond.  Very naive, I now know.

What I didn’t realize then, is that my mom and her siblings must have had challenges/rivalries/jealousies as children that they worked through in order to build a healthy relationship as adults.  My grandparents must have resolved those situations in such a way that they had positive outcomes.  Unfortunately, over the years I have witnessed many families whose children actually dislike each other so much that they maintain minimal contact and can be civil to each other for the smallest amounts of time as adults. This seems to be more of the norm than siblings who are close to each other.  I now recognize that there are many dynamics within a family that can cause ill will and permanent scars that tear them apart.  How incredibly sad this is.

As an only child, I had loving parents who doted on me and we had a close family unit. This was the wonderful bubble I lived in.  Still, I always wished I had a sibling growing up; somebody to share secrets with and laugh with.  I felt I was missing out on something special.  Now, I am not so sure.

6 thoughts on “Sibling Dynamics

  1. There are a lot of tough family dynamics out there – sometimes because of deep wounds, not always from the ones who don’t get along. Sometimes family members can be divisive and others pay for it. It’s hard in such situations to realize that it may never be a pretty family picture. However – I’ve seen brothers and sisters who were incredibly close. My older son says he wanted a little brother – until he got one! :O


  2. Nearly everyone I know has a story about family issues and relatives who won’t speak to each other. It is so sad. I am so lucky that my brother and sister and I do get along very well. We don’t live near each other (maybe that helps?) but I know I could count on them if I needed something. Growing up, my sister and I fought all the time and we often found our little brother to be a pest. Somehow we worked through it.


  3. As one of 7 I can’t imagine not having my sibs. Though we have our share of the “dynamics,” We still have common memories to share and we have what I call the wagon train tradition. No matter how much we get upset with each other, if any of us are in trouble, we circle the wagons…and help the person in distress. The other perspective is…I could not have possibly gotten the same attention you received from your parents…there were too many of us…so probably…either way has its benefits and drawbacks.


  4. I just read this out loud to my husband and (only) daughter. She has similar feelings right now, but then realizes sometimes how cool our little family is. 🙂 The grass is always greener, or something like that!


  5. I’m one of those people who doesn’t spend much time with my siblings- we have hugely differing opinions on some pretty central issues, including the role my adopted sons should hold in our family. Like you, I have always longed for close relationships with my family.


  6. Sometimes I have to remind myself that not all families exist the way mine does. We grew up watching my parents have close relationships with their siblings and parents and my sister and I are the same way now. (We weren’t close when we were younger.) However, I know what you mean. This isn’t the case for all families.


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