Your Children Need Each Other - Creating Strong Sibling Bonds
Parents fret and worry far too much about whether their children have enough friends. Most of us consider it a real blessing to have friendships that have lasted over time. We know that friends come and go. The more powerful attachment comes through family...or it should.
The truth is: Your children need each other and you can establish attachment by creating strong sibling bonds
I believe that one of the sour fruits of my generation and those that have followed, has been the over emphasis on peer attachment.
Post-war advertising and music began to put incredible focus on the “teenager” which included a separate teenage culture – complete with recipes for what was “cool” and what was not.
One of the not-so-cool things was to be close to parents, brothers, and sisters. You should be hanging out with friends and taking your cues from them, was stressed in subtle and not so subtle ways. “My sister is such a pest.” “My Dad is a drag.”
The school model is such that the segregation into grades creates an environment where older siblings would never engage or play with a younger sibling.The whole mantra about “socialization” has been one that drills repeatedly the concept that home life comes up short when it comes to knowing how to live with and enjoy others.
Imagine, what was considered the hub and exemplary place of formation, stability, and love, has somehow become less to transient friendships.
Of course, friends can be very good. They are a blessing. We learn much from our relationships outside the home, but we learn far more within our walls. When brothers and sisters become best friends, it is a gift that lasts a lifetime!
Sibling friendship takes us deeper and provides children with an attachment code that is healthy and formative. All relationships flow from the patterns we learn growing up. Into adulthood, our anchors are healthiest when we have long term relationships in life.
And so, what are parents called to do?
Keep attachments in good order by guarding first those most important relationships – namely family ones.
This means that Mom, Dad, and the children get priority; Priority of time, presence, opportunity for play, talk, work, and creativity.
Extended family fall on the next rung of relationship and friendship importance. It means being mindful of giving effort and focus to caring deeply about the people who matter most and making contact happen.
If you see your children distancing themselves from each other, do not fear weaning back on too many outings, activities, or clubs. Keep outside friendships in balance. We all need other people in life, but not at the price of losing what is most precious in family friendship. Be deliberate about sibling connections.
Raise ladies and gentlemen who respect each other and treasure family. No disparaging remarks, no insults, put-downs, or unkind behaviour.
This is a challenge, but do give a message that says, “In our home we treat those we love most with the most love.”
Teach loyalty within family. We stick up for each other and take care of each other. Teach reconciliation – if we have conflict we apologize and forgive. “ You are my friend for life and no disagreement is worth risking that friendship.”
Be bold in directing your children's attention where it needs to be: HOME.
In the video below, learn how to create deeper connection with siblings for better family relationships.
Are your children good friends? Download this handy resource and find out!