Sibling relationships have been on my mind lately, and even more so today since it is National Siblings Day. The question of whether or not parents should encourage their kids to be friends has been lingering in the back of my mind as I watch my kids growing up faster than I can blink some days.
My answer to what you may think should be a simple question is a resounding yes, but unfortunately life isn't always that easy.
Do you have a sibling or siblings?
See, even if you know me in real life there is good chance you might not know this one fact about me...
I have a sister.
She is 4 years younger than me, we both have the same parents, and we haven't seen or spoken to each other in about 9 years. Now some people reading this may think that is sad or unfortunate, but believe me when I tell you I have long moved on from those type of thoughts and feelings. I have come to terms with the fact that people make choices in life and you can't make a person do anything they don't want to do.
Growing up we were never close and rarely ever hung out or spent quality time together. The more I look back on things I attribute a lot of our non-existent relationship to the fact that we were never encouraged to be not only sisters, but also friends. There were many situations throughout our childhood and even into adulthood where it felt like my parents were setting us up to compete with one another instead of supporting each other. We weren't often encouraged to cheer each other on or be there to celebrate one another's accomplishments.
Now that I have my own kids, their relationship is constantly on my mind. For the past 9 years (since my daughter has been born) I have had a front row seat to watching an incredible sibling relationship flourish.
It's almost magical to watch my children help each other, cheer one another on, love hard, laugh loud and even cry together.
I would be lying (like I did about this photo here) if I told you that they never fought or had a disagreement, but my gripping fear of them ending up like my sister and I someday won't ever allow me to not intervene and help them work any issues out.
Should you encourage your kids to be friends?
You should nurture and foster a friendship between your kids because from what I have seen there is nothing better than a positive, loving sibling relationship.
Encourage your kids to be each other biggest cheerleaders.
Let your kids have disagreements and arguments, but also ensure that they make up and don't hold grudges.
Encourage them to learn about one another and to appreciate their similarities as well as their differences.
Encourage them to spend time together, unsolicited and unscheduled.
Encourage them to not only be siblings, but also friends.
Encourage them to love each other hard.