Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Healthy Sibling Relationships

Did you know those with positive sibling relationships report higher life satisfaction and lower rates of depression later in life? Read more to learn about why your sibling relationship is important. Read More

Complexity of sibling rivalry

Siblings are typically very loyal and will protect their siblings, though there are unique and complex situations that evade most people. For instance, siblings may engage in physical aggression towards each other, for a plethora of complicated reasons, but if anyone were to hurt their sibling, they would be the first to defend them. The aggression siblings have to each other is very different than the abuse or aggression seen in those who are entrusted to care for the family member. There are hundreds of cases where siblings may fight among each other, but God forbid anyone hurt that same sibling. A huge difference.

Sibling Indifference

Your article helps explain why some sibling relationships are close-knit, while others resort to rivalry status. Why do so many sibling relationships end up in total indifference? Case in point, I'm a 59 yr old man and have an older (age 64) and a younger (age 56)sister whom I was never close to. There was never a rivalry, but we always have been and will forever be totally indifferent to each other. Only now, as our Mom recently passed away and I am the executor has the true animosity toward me come out.

My wife (now 59 yrs old), oldest of three, also observes the same indifferent relationship between her younger sister and the baby brother. They've gone through their entire life basically ignoring each other. No outright hatred or love, but tolerant to indifferent. Same goes for my wife's two sons from a previous marriage. They're now 25 & 29, but barely speak to each other, not because the loathe the other, but simply because of different interests, goals, etc.

I'd really like to know why some sibling relationships are so strong yet others barely exist, if at all? Why does the sibling relationships I am aware of there in name only, no other ties?

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Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.

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