It’s true that siblings are your first friends and playmates. When parents are at work or busy with household chores, it’s your sibling whom you spend your time with. But as you grow up, you hang out more with your partner, children or friends. Whether you have full biological siblings or cousins, a bond with them is very important. So, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan 2023, let’s find out how to have a good relationship with siblings as adults.
As people mature, they go through numerous stages of life with their siblings. What they experience together either strengthens their bond or causes it to deteriorate eventually, notes psychotherapist, life and business coach Dr Chandni Tugnait. However, as life goes on, it is fairly typical for siblings to drift apart and take different courses in life.
Different life paths, friends, careers, interests, values, priorities and views on multiple subjects often emerge that divide them. With less shared daily experiences and reduced mutual reliance, the childhood glue bonding siblings together weakens. Unresolved issues or competitiveness may further strain the ties over years. Failing to communicate candidly or address brewing tensions can intensify the slow emotional distancing and sibling rivalry. Physical distance combined with deepening personality differences make preserving closeness as adults difficult. However, siblings who still care for one another can make the effort to rebuild their bonds.
Tips to improve relationship with siblings as adults
It is essential to have a healthy, strong and positive bond among siblings for emotional well-being and a thriving family dynamic. Here’s what to do:
1. Indulge in open communication
For any relationship to be healthy, it is paramount to have open and honest communication with one another, the expert tells Health Shots. Discuss topics others may avoid like finances, aging parents and disciplinary views. Avoid making snap decisions; instead, take the time to consider the other person’s perspective and learn to support each other’s arguments.
2. Establish boundaries
It is important to set boundaries and uphold them because as you get older, circumstances change, and you can’t act the same way you did as a child. Give each other some room and avoid being interdependent to the point that it becomes unhealthy.
3. Appreciate each other
Make sure that you always express gratitude and appreciation for each other. Do not take each other for granted, and value the importance each of you plays in the other’s life. Acknowledge their efforts and have a sense of mutual respect and appreciation for one another.
4. Make time for one another
You may be scheduling catch-up calls, visits and vacations with your friends, but you can do all this with your sibling too. Make your sibling bond a priority amid busy lives. Doing this strengthens the connection between you and your sibling, says Dr Tugnait.
5. Be supportive
Be someone your sibling can always rely on in trying times. Support each other wherever necessary and, if required, give constructive criticism and help them when navigating a difficult situation. Things may not always go smoothly, but be there for each other and offer emotional support when needed.
6. Celebrate differences
As individuals, there are bound to be differences among you. So, instead of comparisons, learn to appreciate and celebrate the differences that may be there. Accept differences in lifestyle, views, parenting styles. Just judge less and be a better listener.
7. Share family responsibilities
Sometimes, you need to stand up and take on family responsibilities. Make sure that you and your siblings are capable of doing so. Split the responsibilities among you two so that no one person is left to carry the entire burden, suggests the expert.
8. Respect individual life choices
Each person in life is given a road and an opportunity, and that opportunity or path may lead your sibling away from you. Learn to appreciate your sibling’s life decisions and encourage them in their attempts.
Also, if you want to improve your relationship with your sibling, abusive behaviours like bullying or insulting should be a total no-no. With care and maturity, you and your sibling can become one another’s closest confidantes and lifelong supports.