What is the Foundation of a Good Sibling Relationship?


What is the Foundation of a Strong Sibling Relationship? | Houston Moms Blog

What is the foundation of a good sibling relationship?  What are the building blocks that lead to a strong, long-lasting bond between siblings?  

I find myself asking these questions more and more now that I am raising two children, who like many other siblings {of all ages} have moments of heartwarming love and moments of complete utter rage against each other.  As parents of multiple children, my husband and I are constantly re-balancing our actions and words to achieve a level of {or perception of} “fairness” in our household. It is a daily struggle we face since the day our son Benjamin {the younger sibling} was born.  Benjamin was born premature at 25 weeks gestation, and as a result demanded a disproportionate amount of attention from the onset. Through his numerous specialty doctor visits to his continuing physical/speech/occupational therapies today, I often wonder if all this will result in any “damage” to my daughter Olivia, my first-born, “normal” child.  

My concerns aren’t necessarily related to Olivia and Benjamin’s day-to-day relationship now.  I understand that it is normal for any 5 and 4 year old to be struggling with sharing and/or playing nice with each other as many of these social skills come with maturity.  My concerns are more related to Olivia and Benjamin’s relationship as they grow into young adults and beyond.

What is the Foundation of a Strong Sibling Relationship? | Houston Moms Blog

Growing up with three younger brothers, I have had my share of siblings drama, filled with {now-embarrassing} memories of massive blowouts and awful pranks, many of which we don’t ever talk about and probably hope that no one remembers today.  While my brothers and I are cordial and have a good relationship now, I wouldn’t say that we are close. I’d like to attribute that to the fact that all three of my brothers now live in different parts of Asia. However, I’m not sure if being physically close to my brothers would make us “best friends” overnight.  

What is the Foundation of a Strong Sibling Relationship? | Houston Moms Blog

I compare this to my husband’s relationship with his brother. Sure, according to my husband, they were practically enemies growing up. However, somewhere between going to college and landing their first jobs in New York City, they became really good friends. The kind of friends who speak almost daily with one another, even as we’ve now relocated to Houston.  There is the extreme of my father’s family, who quickly fell apart with the sudden death of my grandfather many years ago. Through their disagreements related to the family’s estate to each others’ lifestyle choices to other reasons I could not comprehend as a child at the time, all four of my father and his three siblings {two sisters and one brother} are no longer on speaking terms with one another.  Despite my father’s bitterness over all the arguments that occurred with my uncle and aunts, his strained relationship with his siblings left a hole in his heart and instilled a fear that the same fallout he experienced with his own siblings would occur between me and my brothers.

What is the Foundation of a Strong Sibling Relationship? | Houston Moms Blog

There are many variants and intricacies that contribute to the makeup of any relationship, siblings or not.  Families are complicated. One can marry into a family for years but still not fully comprehend the complex arrangements that make up the family’s unique culture {a la the Pearsons / the Big Three vs. their significant others for those who are also avid fans of “This is Us”}.  However, there is one factor that binds all relationships, strained or not :: Love. Love is the reason why my father, despite all the hate-filled exchanges that have occurred with his siblings, still speaks of his strained family relationship with a hint of sorrow.What is the Foundation of a Strong Sibling Relationship? | Houston Moms Blog

There is something to be said about sharing your childhood with a sibling, blood-related or not.  As someone who is still relatively new to this thing called parenthood, I don’t have the answers to how to raise our children to have a strong relationship with each other in the future. I can only hope that I will have helped facilitate more good memories than bad memories in my children’s childhood such that on this day, National Siblings Day, they will at least think of each other in a good light and maybe even call one another and share a laugh or two.

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Debbie W
Debbie was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, lived in New York City for most of her life after college and as of August 2016, moved to Houston with her husband Mike and two rambunctious children Olivia {September 2012} and Benjamin {February 2014}. She loves a great adventure, and therefore is absolutely loving all the explorations that come with living in a new city. Since moving to Houston, she has been extremely impressed with the Houston culinary scene and has sacrificed a few pounds for all things BBQ, Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex, and more! During her free time, she enjoys to get a good sweat in through running, yoga, spin, and some bouncing, pretending to have “all the monies” {yes that’s a phrase she uses} while shopping at Target and other retailers only to empty her shopping cart at the cash register when reality kicks in, and discovering / reading a good book {current favorites:: Eviction and An American Marriage}. As a family, Debbie and her family enjoy tearing up all the parks / playgrounds around town, getting their splash on in their backyard pool and chilling with their family guard dog, Batman. She is excited to share her journey with the HMB community and looks forward to all the friends and connections she’ll encounter along the way!


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