Research suggests that sibling relationships can offer benefits well into adulthood. Therapists dedicated to family relationships believe that it is possible to strengthen a connection between adult siblings.
Among the strategies indicated by them are accepting their changes and having quality time.
Here are three tips for having a deeper relationship with your brother.
understand the changes
It is important to be willing to see and embrace a sibling’s growth. “You have to allow people to evolve, not treat them the way you’ve always treated them,” says Nedra Glover Tawwab, a therapist in Charlotte, North Carolina.
To get a better idea of who your sibling is, Whitney Goodman, a Miami-based family therapist, suggested periodically asking questions like, “What are you interested in right now?” and “What’s going on in your life that I don’t know about?”
Learn how your parents affect your dynamic
The therapists interviewed noted that no matter how loving parents are, they can complicate sibling bonds. Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, says it can be helpful to ask, “Did you fall into a pattern of communicating with your parents that is shaping your feelings toward your sibling, even if you didn’t intend to? nobody?”.
To avoid this kind of interference, establish a ground rule: when you talk to your parents or spend time with them, don’t talk about your siblings, especially if the conversation is of the gossip type. You can also analyze whether perceived parental favoritism is affecting your relationship with your siblings. Studies have shown that this can be an obstacle to closeness.
Make time for their company
Goodman says siblings sometimes forget that their relationship requires attention and care. “Often we expect family relationships to be good simply because someone is related to us, but that’s not how it works,” she says.
Siblings must find ways to have fun together, therapists say. “It’s really hard when all of your interactions are about problems one of you is having,” or when talking about who is going to take care of the parent’s needs, says Laurie Kramer, professor of applied psychology at Northeastern University.
“Find times when you can really enjoy each other’s company.”
Translated by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves