Sibling Struggles: Tips for Parents and Their Teens [Teen Article]

Maria Elena is a 16-year-old from Wilmington, DE. She enjoys dancing and cooking and her favorite subject is Math. Sibling Struggles

According to Time Magazine, 18% of people polled said that they thought their parents favored one child over another and 36% of people polled said that they’ve eventually become closer to their siblings with age. That’s great to hear that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but what about now?

The bond between siblings is a unique connection that cannot be replicated or recreated. A “sibling-ship,” a relationship between siblings, is like an invisible set of handcuffs or a super glued pinky promise; you’re bonded together forever. It is a special relationship that should be cherished throughout your whole life. It’s also the one of the only opportunities where the phrase “been there, done that” can be passed back and forth.

Two or three years ago I may not have felt that way about the relationship between my brother and me, but now I definitely do. When my brother and I were younger, we bickered and argued and I incessantly followed him around and wanted to do what he did. It’s almost weird to think that we’ve come such a long way from there and have civil conversations.

Don’t think it’s possible for you and your siblings? Believe me, neither did I. I thought it would be impossible for my brother and I to get along no matter how much we got older, but somehow over the last year everything just clicked.

The one thing you have to remember above all things is that they’re always going to be your brother or sister, and no matter how much you hope, wish, and/or pray that you weren’t related at times, you can’t change it. Every set of siblings isn’t going to be picture perfect. Sometimes you just can’t see eye to eye with some things, but what would siblings be without the occasional disagreement?

Tips for Teens:

1. Be respectful of your sibling’s things, hobbies, opinions, and actions. As we grow up, we go through a lot of different stages and it’s always a lot easier when you have the support of your brother or sister.

2. Be understanding of your sibling.

If you’re older: you know what your younger brother or sister is going through. For example, growing up, disagreements with your parents, and even the stress of school. Offer advice to help them out, be the ‘cool’ older sibling.

If you’re younger: your older brother or sister most likely can relate to your problems even though it may seem like they don’t understand anything. Seek advice and don’t be afraid, they’re your sibling no matter how embarrassing your questions may be.

3. Be supportive of your sibling. Nothing is better than the feeling when you look into the crowd and see your brother or sister cheering you on.

Pointers for Parents:

1. Encourage respect between siblings. I’m not opposed to sharing, but instead of assuming that your teen won’t care if another sibling borrows their things (even if you paid for them), persuade them to ask first. It builds a lot of trust and respect between siblings.

2. Talk to your teen(s) to help them realize that the experiences they will go through are similar to those of their older siblings. If teens realize that they aren’t the only ones with a problem, it makes it easier to ask for help.

3. Make sure that your teens are always supportive of each other, no matter what. Being supportive builds a lot of loyalty and strength between your teenagers, something that will help their relationship grow.

My favorite part about having a brother is that we can compare and contrast different experiences. We might not seem or act like best friends, but we know that we love each other and would be there to help out in a heartbeat.

What’s your favorite part?

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