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Should You Encourage Your Kids To Be Friends?

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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. 

Today is National Siblings Day and in order to celebrate, I want to talk about should you encourage your kids to be friends or not.

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. 

Siblings-Puerto-Rico

 

Should you encourage your kids to be friends? 

Absolutely. 

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. 

National-Sibling-Day

 

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Jennifer Auer

Friday 29th of December 2017

Love this! My parents sound like yours. While my sisters and I do talk some it's not as close as I would like it to be. :(

Paula Schuck

Friday 29th of December 2017

I agree mostly. I find though that the teen years with girls are the hardest. They were best friends until teenage years and these two fight like unbelievable now. It is such a challenge at 13 and 16. I fought with my brother some for sure, but we were also close and I think that we functioned very well as a team when necessary and most certainly that is true of our adulthood years helping care for our mom and make these kinds of choices. But these two - sometimes I wonder. I see moments away from school year when they interact nicely. But I can't force that at this age at all.

Betty

Friday 29th of December 2017

I loved reading this, thank you for sharing your personal story and also your thoughts for your kids. I wish my parents had encouraged friendship between my sister and I, rather than competition and comparison. For my children, I'm taking the same approach as you! I think it's especially important to make sure that they learn to forgive and not hold grudges! I have a 4 yo girl and a 1 yo boy, and already, I see them learning how to check on each other and hug after they get mad at each other!! It's the greatest thing! <3

Naturally Stellar

Thursday 28th of December 2017

I absolutely encourage it. I lost my older brother a couple of months ago. He was 42. When we were growing up (I'm one of 3/middle child) our mom used to tell us that we were each other's best friends. Of course we never really paid attention to that. We used to laugh when she said it. We never realized the importance until we were all grown with our own families. I left home at 17 and grew slowly apart from my brothers because of college, distance, marriage, kids, arguments etc. But I'm so glad we got a chance to reconcile and reconnect these last few years. It was important for us and for our kids to have that bond.

Clarissa

Friday 29th of December 2017

I am so glad you know have that bond with your brothers!

censie

Thursday 28th of December 2017

Gosh this hits home. I, too, have not spoken to my brother for years. WE do not see each other at family events or holidays and we do not get to have a relationship with each other kids either. It really does have me wondering how my kids will be in 15 years. I can only hope their relationship stays strong and they can love each other through their adult lives but the reality is, we cannot control that and for now, I will continue to teach them love and respect and hope for the very best.

Clarissa

Thursday 28th of December 2017

Wow! Thank you for sharing that with me. I often feel like I am the only one in this situation and I hardly ever share about it. It sounds like you and are very similar in regards to our sibling relationships. We can't control that you are right, but we can hope and try as hard as we can to foster a fabulous relationship.