Managing Adult Sibling Relationships During the Holidays

When the holidays come around, there are certain relationships that can be more stressful than others. We often find parent and adult child relationships, in-law relationships, and peer friendships can all be strained at the holidays. Sometimes we forget a relationship that can also bring stress at the holidays, are those among siblings. Even more so if we’ve had past animosity with our siblings growing up. We may be harboring some negative feelings towards them without even realizing it.

Thomas G Plante says in his article titled ‘Managing Adult Sibling Relationships During the Holidays’, that learning how to cope, forgive, and move forward with your sibling is necessary to enjoy the holidays. Sometimes sibling rivalry can rear it’s head full force when a family gathering is happening. The holidays are said to bring out the best in people, but we find that it can bring out the worst in those we love the most. It doesn’t seem to matter how old we are, we tend to revert back to emotions that may have plagued our sibling relationships when we were younger.

Being able to effectively communicate with your siblings as an adult is a key factor in the success of the relationship. It can be difficult when there is unsolved tension or when equal effort isn’t put forth by each sibling to mend the relationship. It can also be difficult when you have more than one sibling, or you find that your relationships with your other siblings are not as strained.

There are other factors that can contribute to the strain put on you and your sibling. The distance you live from one another, the difference in age, or the type of relationship each of you have with both of your parents. Finding some time to speak to your sibling alone to resolve some of the issues in a calm matter might be a good start. Possibly trying to reconnect over something that bonded you when you were a child. Or at the very least, trying not to let your sibling bother you, and instead engage with other members of your family who make you feel good.