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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:14 pm 
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***LIES!!!***
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I would be so sad if I didn't have siblings. My siblings are way at the top of the list of most important people in my life - co-equals with the family I created for myself - my husband and daughter.

We could not be more different and now we live all over the country, but (except for my step-siblings who I only feel a little connected to), we could not feel more connected to each other or part of each other's lives.

I fought with the siblings I grew up with *all the time.* I hazed them, we ganged up on each other, we excluded each other or used inclusion as a weapon, we fought over the front seat and food at the dinner table and use of the bathroom, we were treated very unequally (because of our temperaments, the mental/emotional place my mother was in when each of us came into being, because one of us needed way more attention just to get by in life than the rest, etc.). We don't all have the same set of parents (lots of "halves") and these days we have very different relationships with the parents we share in common. None of it matters to any of us.


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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:13 am 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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My sister and I don't get along at all and haven't spoken in about 3 years -- the only time we ever really got along was when she was in college. My sister always had more privileges and stuff that I did and I was just told not to compare myself with her because we were different -- but it's so obvious they like her better.
My husband's isn't on bad terms with his sisters, but isn't particularly close and certaily wasn't growing up. His parents really make it obvious how much more they like the sisters and how much easier the girls were as kids than he was.

Beety and Raygold get along really well, I wouldn't've thought kids 2 years apart would get along so well at this age (4 and 2), but they do. My mom had 3 sisters and the middle two get along. My dad comes from a family of 7 (!!) and they are all really tight, except for my dad.

I think it's a combination of personality and how parents treat the kids that influences sibling relationships, but that's just my theory.

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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 3:54 am 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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I am the oldest of 3, 3.5 years older than my brother and 5.5 years older than my sister. As kids, I didn't get along at all with them. The age difference played a part in that, as well as the fact that I was (undiagnosed but probably) hyperactive and often ended up hurting them when playing or fighting.
When my brother became a pre-teen, we got closer as we started sharing some interests. And as adults I really, really love my sister. We don't get to see each other nearly as often as we'd like because of the whole living in different countries thing, but there's never a time when I don't enjoy talking to her or seeing her. I'm not as close to my brother although I think he's a really cool person.


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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:27 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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my siblings and i are not close at all- we have too much space between us, and the fact that we grew up in an abusive environment made us all super wounded and even today, super defensive. we talk a few times a year but i don't consider them as people who have any obligation to me if i were in need. i'm open to changing that but it's hard with where we all are at the moment.
i consciously decided to not have more than one kid, for reasons which had nothing to do with my upbringing. i don't think i've ever seriously regretted it; though i think i probably would have been a good parent to multiple kids, i just couldn't do it again, due to my own emotional issues.

also, i don't think fighting means trouble- it is probably almost inevitable. as mentioned wisely upthread, there is squabbling and there is fighting. squabbles are inevitable. it's how siblings (and family members in general, as any teen parent knows) negotiate space and relationships.

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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:53 am 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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About fighting - since I mentioned that there was actual fighting between my siblings and me (I never broke any bones, but they were bloodied a few times. And I felt really bad about it, and still do to this day). First, it didn't end up being an indicator of how we would get along as adults, as we have really good relationships now. Second, it wasn't my parents' fault. As far as I can tell, it was all pretty much coming from me, as I had a humongous amount of energy and not a good control over how to release it (I mean, by the time I was 11, I was training in several martial arts, several hours a day, 6 days a week, competing in judo on a national level and I still had steam to blow off. That was also the year I was put in an English immersion program with no previous ESL exposure, and German classes. My parents were trying for physical and mental exhaustion. Challenge accepted.)

My parents chose to not have my issues diagnosed and medicated as I didn't have any learning disability, and I am grateful for it now, but it certainly didn't make my family's life easier.

I'm not sure what point I am going for here. Maybe that regardless of what principles you start with, your kids' individual personality and unique needs will end up dictating how you need to parent. My parents also didn't treat all 3 of us the same, even though they weren't unfair (most of the time). We just had too different personalities to be parented the same way, and I think this must be quite a challenge once you have 3+ kids. They also paid attention to the relationships we had to one another, not treating us a a homogeneous group.


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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:09 am 
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What I'm hearing a lot of people say is that individual attention helps, as well as making sure each sibling knows they are loved for who they are. Sounds obvious, I guess, but those things don't happen in a lot of families.

It is going to take some time for me to wrap my head around fighting being okay or healthy. Intellectually I get it, but there's a little voice leftover from my childhood that says expressing anger or frustration is wrong. Seriously, my mother acted SO DISAPPOINTED in us as human beings if we fought, which made me feel as if I must be worse/more negative/harder to get along with than other children. But when you're never allowed to express your angry feelings, you stay angry. The most important thing I've gotten from my recent reading is the important of accepting kids' feelings. If I had felt heard, if someone had acknowledged my anger or frustration and helped me problem solve, it would have made all the difference.

I'm going to have to read and think more about healthy vs. unhealthy fighting (our fights were cruel and emotionally shredding, and a few times I had sharp or heavy things thrown at me that made me bleed, which I never told anyone about because I was ashamed that my parents didn't help me). So definitely, as a parent, I have to draw the line at violence, but it can be difficult for me to see where the line is between ordinary squabbling and words meant to hurt someone else. A work in progress.


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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:36 am 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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Mitten, for me the fighting thing has a lot to do with intent. I had two older brothers and we fought a lot, but I always knew that they loved me and didn't mean any real harm.

I remember one time I was staying with a friend of mine and seeing the way she and her older brother acted towards one another. You could tell he really didn't care what happened to her or how much he hurt her. I don't know how such toxic relationships happen, but I'm guessing that even in the most loving homes with great role models there are still some personalities that gravitate toward that, but not typically so.


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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Should Write a Goddam Book Already
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mittenmacher wrote:
So definitely, as a parent, I have to draw the line at violence, but it can be difficult for me to see where the line is between ordinary squabbling and words meant to hurt someone else. A work in progress.


I think name-calling and insults are another clear line to draw (in my non-expert, non-parent, opinion). There's a huge difference between things like "give it back to me", "it's your turn to do the dishes", "stop poking me" and "you're a ______", or "I don't like you".

Granted, I used the "I don't like you, anymore" phrase a lot when I was a toddler and, according to my mom, my first response to my sister antagonizing me was to hit her. I was never in trouble for being upset when she took my toy away or did something unfair, but there were different consequences for different behaviors. Acts of violence always had the severest consequence (for us, it was being sent to the corner, which was a BIG DEAL). If my sister refused to share, she wouldn't be allowed to have the things she wasn't sharing for x amount of time. She could have it back when she would take turns. According to my mom, my parents always tried to make the punishment fit the crime, and they wouldn't have any of the "she started it" crepe. I remember hearing the word "consequence" a lot more than I did "punishment." My parents weren't perfect, and there were times when I felt like I was in more trouble than I should be, but those times were in the minority. You don't have to get it right 100% of the time.

ETA: Oh, the thing my parents did that I most appreciated: when we fought, they'd separate us and we were each asked to tell our side of the story. No one was every denied a chance to state her case; on the flipside, if there were holes in the stories, they'd call us out for omitting details. We were held to a pretty high truth-telling standard.

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 Post subject: Re: Sibling Relationships
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:36 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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we have a lot of parenting disagreements about squabbling. i see it as necessary, and even including evil names. but i see that FC is a normal kid 5 minutes after she tells me that she hates me and god knows what horrible thing she wishes would happen to me [because i dare interrupt her TV to ask her to do homework. bad mommy at work.] so i don't take it seriously.
Mr T sees it as the end of the world, we have destroyed the kid, better give up and put her out on the street, shouldn't even bother sending her to college. I have said, you grew up with 5 siblings, didn't you fight??? "Of course", he said, "we beat the $%(* out of each other. BUT GIRLS ARE DIFFERENT, they aren't supposed to fight."
Personally, i can't say i agree with that at all. We agree to disagree. FC is a normal eye-rolling 12 year old, and if she vents her stress by squabbling with me, so be it.

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