Siblings are some of our first relationships. Throughout childhood and across your lifespan, you might spend more time with your siblings than anyone else. As a result, they may share some of your more treasured, or most challenging, memories and understand your upbringing in a way no one else can.
Relationships with your adult siblings can look different. As you age, the natural connection points of living and playing together dissipate. You may move away to college, move to a new state, or start your own family. These changes can make sibling relationships difficult to maintain into adulthood. But, lifelong, strong sibling relationships are possible!
Here are 7 tips for strengthening your relationship with your adult sibling.
Focus on the Two of You
Sibling relationships come with a rich history. You’ve experienced life together in a way no one else could understand. So it’s natural for these relationships to involve other family members and mirror long-held family dynamics.
Things look different as adults. To strengthen your relationship, focus on the relationship between you and your sibling as separate from the rest. Allow yourself to focus on one relationship at a time to give your sibling relationship what it needs to thrive.
Find Common Ground Again
Sibling relationships often revolve around the things you did together as children. Without realizing it, you both possibly even replay sibling dynamics that existed when you were younger. You may naturally fall back into the roles you played in each other’s younger years.
Remember that this relationship is unique and new. Share the things you enjoy, and find common ground with your sibling again as adults. For example, they may love the same song or tv show, or comedian. Get to know them as an adult, and find the things you still share as siblings!
Treat Your Relationship Like a Friendship
Sibling dynamics are deeply ingrained and hard to break. With a lifelong history, it is much easier to fall into patterns of being critical or tough on your sibling. It might feel natural to roll your eyes or correct them if they make a mistake.
It’s helpful to ask yourself-is this how I would treat my friend? Aim to treat your sibling relationships like a friendship. Focus on love, care, and respect. Then, challenge yourself to notice those natural sibling patterns and work to build new ways of interacting.
Keep It Casual
Family relationships aren’t just for the holidays! Strengthen your relationship with regular bouts of casual contact.
You may want to send a meme that made you think of them or just check in with a text a few times per week. Regular, casual contact is beneficial to all relationships--sibling relationships are no different!
Celebrate the Big Moments
Did your sibling just make a big promotion? Achieve a milestone? Get a new apartment? Celebrate and let them know how proud you are of them!
Find ways to participate and celebrate your sibling’s accomplishments. If you aren’t local, you can get creative to celebrate. For example, you may want to send flowers, a card, or dinner from their favorite place. In addition, a quick phone call, text, or FaceTime to extend your congratulations can support and strengthen the relationship.
Acknowledge the Small Stuff, Too
You may already be celebrating and supporting the significant accomplishments, but what about the little things? Whether it’s an intramural softball playoff game or a meeting they were worried about at work, find ways to acknowledge the little things, too.
Give your sibling the same thoughtfulness and attention you would give a close friend to continue to strengthen that bond. Reach out if you sense they need support- even if they don't always respond, them knowing you're there can be invaluable.
Try New Things Together
New experiences are an important way to connect and improve your overall wellness, which supports healthy relationships. Try new restaurants or pick up a new hobby together, walk in a new park, or plan a trip to a new destination.
You can continue to build and grow your sibling relationships by creating new memories and sharing new experiences. This can help honor the latest phase of your relationship and encourage you to stay connected as adults.
Why Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Adult Siblings?
Healthy sibling relationships are important. As mentioned, sibling relationships are often among the longest relationships individuals have across their lifespan. Siblings can be the family members you lean on the most throughout your life, and this dynamic can never be truly replicated.
It may be impossible to keep your sibling relationship the same into adulthood as life and circumstances change. Still, you can reconnect and strengthen your sibling relationships as adults with time, care, and attention.
At The Resurface Group, we recognize the importance of family, connection, and support. We want to help you strengthen the significant relationships in your life- contact us today to learn more!