why fighting with your sibling is a good thing

I just read the most interesting article about the nature of sibling relationships.  It is true that your sibling is one of the longest (if not the longest) relationship you’ll ever have.  Pretty scary for some, pretty awesome for others.  (I’m not saying which for me!)

As I read part of this article aloud to my mother, she intuitively rolled her eyes and said, “Yes, I know, it’s all my fault…blah, blah, blah.  Blame the mother!”  Although the article does place the majority of the responsibility of the development of the sibling relationship on the parents, it also seems to absolve them of it as well.  No parent, no matter how hard they try, can treat each child exactly the same.  It is after all, up to the child to perceive equal treatment.  And anyone who’s ever been around someone under the age of 10 (and over!) knows this is hardly possible.

My husband noted just last night that he loves being around my sister and I as we share childhood memories because inevitably just as one of us finishes a story the other has their mouth gaping open in disbelief ready to retort and describe the way it really happened.  It never ceases to amaze me that my sister and I actually grew up in the same household with the same parents.  How?

I’ve learned that all those fights and arguments over hairbrushes, shoes, and clothes weren’t psychologically corrosive, but rather laying the foundation for an inseparable bond as adults.  (We just argue over more expensive things now!  Ok, not really.)  But who else has that kind of history — this is also why it’s one of the most emotionally charged relationships too.  She knows my weak spots and how I fight think, thus making me feel more vulnerable which begets defensiveness, etc.  But just as the article suggests, having learned how to put up with navigate that relationship at a young age set a very strong precedent of just how I would establish almost every other relationship to come.  And look at me now; I didn’t end up in a padded room and I finally believe that mom and dad didn’t find me on the side of the road and brought me home just because they felt sorry for me.  Success.

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