Siblings grow together sharing a bittersweet relation

The relationship shared by siblings is a unique one. It is generally filled with irony. At one moment siblings might be tearing each other's hair out and sometimes they would be fighting with their parents in support of their brother or sister.

In fact, having a sibling impacts the very personalities of children. "When you see two children, even if you do not know their order of birth, you can know it by observing them. The elder one generally tends to be more responsible, sacrificing and the younger ones comparatively more demanding," said Dr Jaya Shiwalkar, child and adolescent psychologist and paediatrician.

The general consensus is that having a sibling to share one's childhood always scores over being a single child. "It gives them a companion who has always been there in every important point of their lives. The relationship is also very different in the way that it's a mix of formal and informal one," said Prabha Damedhar, who has two sons.

She explained that with parents, children generally tend to be more respectful and that can also act as a barrier in communication. "With each other, they have the safety of confidence and reliability as they are blood relation and family and also they are free as they belong to more or less the same age group," she said.

Isha Chaoji, who has a brother just a year younger than her, agrees with the above statement and says, "Both of us are very close and share a lot of things happening in our lives. Sometimes, we tell each other happenings in our lives even before we share it with our parents."

The relationships shared between siblings also differ according to the gender of the children, experts say. According to Dr Shiwalkar, generally two sisters tend to share a deep emotional connect while two brothers tend to generally have a good time, but their relation doesn't go too deep. In the case of a brother and a sister, if it is the sister who is the elder one, she tends to become a motherly figure, while if it is the brother who is elder, he tends to become a bit bossy.

Throwing light on a slightly negative trend which seems to be entering the sibling relationship, she added, "Apart from the normal rivalry, which generally goes away with time, there seems to be a bit of negativity which is creeping between siblings. It is mainly because of lifestyle changes. The need for personal space has become so acute that there is some kind of resentment too."

However, this trend is not the only thing that is taking parents away from having two children. "Today, when both of us are working, having a single child makes much more sense. It is better to provide for the single child in the best possible way than to raise two children without managing to give justice to the bringing up of the children," said V Harindranath, father of a single child.

Expert tips for parents

*Start preparing the elder child for the arrival of a new baby in the family right from the beginning of the pregnancy

*The conversation regarding the second child should also include the elder one and the younger one should be addressed as 'your little sister or brother.'

*Parents should not expect the elder child to suddenly become 'big'. They should give the child time to adjust

*Don't always ask the elder child to adjust. Ask the younger one to do so too. It will give the elder one a sense of fairness and teach the younger about limits

*There should be now change in showing affection - hugs, kisses etc - upon the elder child after the arrival of the younger one

*Involve the elder child in making small decisions for the younger sibling to give the former a sense of responsibility and attachment

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