While we all tend to prioritize friendships and romantic partnerships, many of us overlook an important relationship that deserves attention: that with our brothers and sisters. If you are around the same age as your siblings, they were probably your first playmates and helped to shape how you see the world. And aside from your parents, siblings are often the longest-lasting relationships in a person’s life.
For one reason or another, though, it’s not uncommon for siblings to grow apart later in life. So here are some tips on repairing and strengthening your relationships with your siblings from Maryland-based family and sibling therapist Dr. Karen Gail Lewis:
- First, assess the current state of your relationship by reaching out to your sibling and making an effort to understand their perspective. If there is any tension between you and your sibling, Dr. Lewis recommends writing a letter or an email trying to get to the bottom of the conflict, but warns against getting defensive and says you should be patient with them.
- Next, you should create a “taboo list” of subjects you know you and your sibling are unlikely to agree on, so you can avoid the inevitable argument that line of discussion is going to cause.
- And finally, Dr. Lewis says you should ease into the reconnection with your sibling. Start with short, manageable interactions, like visiting a museum or watching a movie together. Then you can gradually increase the duration and depth of your conversations as the relationship feels safer.
If you want to rekindle your relationship with your sibling and it all seems too much to handle on your own, Dr. Lewis suggests finding a professional who can support you through the process. And remember, when it comes to siblings, it’s better to build bridges than walls, so go ahead, reach out to your sibling and make your family tree a little stronger, one branch at a time.
Source: CBS News
- Do you have a sibling that you haven’t talked to in a while? Does this inspire you to reach out to them?