The relationship of siblings is very complex, especially in a big family. Every family is so different from the next. Some families encourage complete independence from the brothers and sisters, no one is responsible for the other just for themselves, “You take care of yourself and he will take care of himself.” Then there are those families that make the older siblings completely responsible for the younger ones “It is your responsibility to watch him when I am not around, he is your little brother.”
As is true in most situations moderation is usually the best answer. There needs to exist a balance in the relationship. One needs independence but one also needs to want to care for or nurture the ones they love.
As parents how can we help to achieve this balance for our children?
By example, how do we treat our spouse? How do we treat others? Do we do it all on our own with no help from others? Do we live the motto “It takes a village” and we ask for and accept help from others? Do we find a happy place in between those two areas, a shade of gray that finds independence yet welcomes the love and nurturing of others?
If as parents you want friendship for your siblings then you have to show them an example of your friendship through your relationships. We also have to cultivate their relationships with each other. We can put them in situations where they will enjoy each other’s company from a very young age. Many other factors will no doubt play a role in the relationships of your children, their personalities, friends and interests. However, if from the beginning we tell our children you are each other’s best friends and give them reasons to believe it then they may actually build it.
One day we will pass on to the next life and we want our children to be friends and have a close relationship. We have to build this relationship very delicately from the very beginning of each birth. We need to give them a taste of independence and caring for each other and an open place for them to be together and play and a place for them to have their privacy. We need to remember not to compare them to each other ever; it just pits them against each other. We need to give our love equally so they do not believe that favorites exist. We need to teach them love through example and pray that one day they will find that their relationship with their siblings is one of the best and strongest they have ever formed. I pray that when I am gone the bond among my children will live on and be passed on to their children.