We always wanted our children to have a good relationship with each other. My sister and I do but that didn’t really develop until she was 12 and I was 16 and I had a broken leg making my 12 year old sister my primary care provider for one really long summer. At one point she told me with maturity beyond her years, “Amy I love you but if I spend one more minute with you I am going to go crazy.”
Proeun and his family were close in the way that really extremely difficult circumstances tend to bond people. Whether it was fleeing imminent death in your home country, surviving in a refugee camp, moving across the world to a neighborhood and country that didn’t understand you and sometimes didn’t want you or growing up with no money and not enough food to go around, these circumstances tend to bond people. But even then when conditions got better school friends began to take the place of family closeness. For his next youngest brother with really bad consequences of bad friends and situations that seemed innocent enough at first.
After moving to Minnesota the brothers became closer and Proeun’s family has been an example to me of sibling closeness. But all around me I see siblings that are distant at best and openly hate each other in the worst cases.
This weekend it really hit home for me how important it is to develop and maintain healthy relationships in the immediate family early as this will be the support system that will carry them through the rest of their life.
I think we are off to a good start. They love each other, play with each other, fight and forgive each other. They are really excited about another sibling joining our family.
One book that really helped me was Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends
This book is written by 3 siblings ranging in age from 20 to 12 at the time of the writing–including one adopted sibling. This book helped me see that not only is it possible for siblings to get along but to be best friends! I really wish I had read this as a young woman before moving out of my family home. Even though I was older when I read it it helped me see my relationship with my sister in a new light and make steps to repair some of the damage to our relationship. I highly recommend it. It can also be read aloud as a family with older children.