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Old 07-10-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
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Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

I would love advice/tips or book recommendations on getting my sons to have a close relationship with each other as they age. If anyone is really close to their sibling, why do you think that is so?

I have realized that I am not that close to my brother anymore (at one time I did consider us close), and DH isn't really close with his siblings, either. There is no specific drama or issues, and we enjoy seeing each other, but it seems like we pretty much only see each other when our paths cross at our parents house around a holiday. Now, I know it is normal that those relationships fall by the wayside a bit as we are in the raising young children phase of our lives and don't live geographically close by, time and money can be short, but still it makes me a bit sad. Like, DH and his one sister would never just call each other up on the phone to catch up, and I don't think they email, either. My brother and I call and email less and less as the years go by. I would like my children to have a close relationship separate from me as they grow into adults, to communicate, to visit each other and generally enjoy one another's company as they would a close friend. Is there anything I should/shouldn't do as a parent? Is this up to me at all?

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Old 07-10-2013, 03:08 PM   #2
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Re: Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

I'm wondering this, too. I'd really want my sons to be close friends as adults but they are just at each others' throats as kids. I hope they will grow out of it.....
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:35 PM   #3
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My brother and I fought constantly til our mid twenties but are very close now.
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:54 PM   #4
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Re: Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

I'm not close to my brother and never have been. We are just so different. I've always thought our best chance for that changing would be him to marry and have kids so I could be friends with his wife and my kids would have cousins but he's 39 and single...

The friends I have that are close in the way you describe seem to be sisters. I don't think men have friendships where they keep in touch the same way even if they consider themselves close.

My DH used to be what I would consider close to his brothers. They grew up out of the country and moved a lot so even though they fought like crazy, they were still close because that's all there was!
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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I have 3 sisters. We fought when we were kids, but we are super close now. I think making an effort to stay involved in each others lives is what keeps us close. Just like any friendship, we have to make an effort to call and get together. I think fostering thia habit is the best way to ensure your kids are able to maintain a close bond even if their lives are different and there is distance between them. Encourage them to remember to make regular phone calls, skype, letters to cousins, grandparents, etc and teach them it's important to stay in touch with family members.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #6
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Re: Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

i was not close to my brother growing up. 4 years on school difference, but now as adults we are very close.
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Old 07-11-2013, 07:24 AM   #7
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Re: Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

Just don't force it, is all I have to say. My parents try to force closeness on my sister and I and it only made things more stressful. We are not particularly close now, but we do stay in touch. We are just very different people. Dh is not that close to his brothers either.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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I believe that cheering each other on in their favorite sports & activities truly leads to sibs being each others biggest fans & sharing more closeness.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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Re: Need advice on fostering sibling relationship

Some of it is just personality. But things parents can do IMO are 1) insist that the children be kind to one another, and 2) not always have outside friends involved.

In regards to 1, I mean don't be a parent who makes the kids always "work it out" on their own, or say "I don't want to hear about it unless there's blood!". Which I see happen all.the.time. And from what I have seen, what really results is the bigger or stronger child learns to bully their own way, and the weaker one learns to shut up and take it, and the parents *think* the kids have learned to play all nicely. And the attitude continues into adulthood, with the emotionally stronger sibling trying to get his/her way much of the time and the "weaker" sibling either just pulling away or fighting back finally, creating tension among the adult siblings.

Yes, older kids need to learn to work things out without an intermediary and not be constantly tattling, BUT telling very young kids to "just work it out" is akin to telling a young child to "just learn to speak Russian" by spending an hour a week with a Russian child, without actually *teaching* them. Yes, they will eventually figure out how to speak it, but it would work a LOT faster with actual training. So when my younger kids (under age 6/7ish) fight, I will intervene and have them repeat after me, "Tell her you want the toy, don't just grab it. Say 'May I please have that toy?' ". And then, "Now say, 'Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry I grabbed it from you' ". It takes a LOT of intervention, all day long, but eventually you will hear them doing this on their own, treating each other and other children with SUCH kindness and respect. It stays with them

In regards to 2, I don't mean never have friends over. But don't have them invade your family time. Don't invite them on vacations or even to play every single day. Encourage your kids to have time with just each other, especially as they get older, time when your kids can learn to be each others' friends. Let them have sleepovers together in the back yard, without other friends. Like pp said, encourage them to root for each other, to attend camp together as they get older, to work at the same place as teenagers. Don't force it, but gently create opportunities for friendship and shared memories.

Last edited by Melinda29; 07-12-2013 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Melinda29

In regards to 2, I don't mean never have friends over. But don't have them invade your family time. Don't invite them on vacations or even to play every single day. Encourage your kids to have time with just each other, especially as they get older, time when your kids can learn to be each others' friends. Let them have sleepovers together in the back yard, without other friends. Like pp said, encourage them to root for each other, to attend camp together as they get older, to work at the same place as teenagers. Don't force it, but gently create opportunities for friendship and shared memories.
This is exactly what I was going to say. Let them be friends now. Have them play together. They are the best playmate for each other because they will learn to appreciate their similarities and differences. Give them the time and opportunities to play together frequently without outside influence.

My brother and I are three years apart. We were very close until I went into probably eighth grade. We then grew apart just because we were at such different stages in our lives. Plus I was boring relative to him. I didn't want to get in trouble, he didn't want to party without alcohol

I never disliked him nor him me, and we never stopped talking. Now that we are both married, stable adults, and living in big kid world, we get along exceptionally well. We love being with him and my SIL. I wish we lived closer so we could socialize with them more often. We are still very different, but we appreciate each other for who we are. If we hasn't been playmates as youngsters I could see where we would have drifted apart completely.
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