Acquiring a sibling can lead to a lifetime of competition, as you fight tooth and nail for love, attention and resources. But it shouldn't be like that.
Even if your childhood was dominated by sibling rivalry, making the transition into adulthood means dropping your worst habits - competitiveness, teasing, a tendency to put younger siblings down. Conversely, the over-idolatry of the younger sibling towards the elder is probably best consigned to history.
Follow these rules to ensure that you have a civilised relationship with your siblings. You may even find that your siblings - far from being your natural enemies - are the best friends you'll ever have.
Golden Rules for Siblings
- Forget about childhood slights, fights and tensions. That was in the past, and you shouldn't hold adults still accountable.
- Forget the embarrassing anecdotes; harping on about childhood tantrums, pratfalls and tragedies won't endear you to your siblings.
- Similarly, don't be the one person who's keeping a meticulous record of adolescent folly; recalling fashion mistakes, drunken debauches and dating disasters will undermine your siblings' attempts to put their past behind them.
- Develop a discreet, separate relationship with each sibling. Try to keep gossip about siblings to a minimum.
- Don't complain about your siblings' behaviour to your parents. Sort out any problems yourselves.
- Be polite to your siblings. It's all too easy to relapse into the teasing habits of childhood, or to take siblings for granted.
- When your parents are getting older, look to your siblings for mutual support, you will need to help each other when it comes to dealing with old age and infirmity. Don't be the sibling that fails to match up.
- Put the competitiveness of childhood behind you. Look to your siblings for acceptance, loyalty and support.