Sibling relationships are emotionally profound and influential connections that are not only important in our early development but for over the course of our lives. Our siblings are our earliest BFFs, protectors, partners-in-crime, support systems, annoyances and happy moments. They are there for you no matter what (or no matter how much you drive them crazy.)
In honor of National Sibling Day, we asked our resident twins and Teen Line Listeners, Bianca and Elton, to share some insight on the importance of supporting and getting along with your sibling.
How to Support Your Sibling by Bianca Sjoenell
1. Always have their back. When in an argument with a parent, either of us will step in and advocate for the other. It helps us feel less confused when having difficult conversations. My twin and I team up together to always support our adorable little brother, Enzo, when he’s learning new things. He’s our rock and his innocence supports us every day.
2. Check in on them throughout the day. With busy schedules and a stressful school day, words of encouragement from my brother helps me stay positive. He texts “you got this” or “no stress” and that keeps me motivated.
3. Help them when they truly need it! If your sibling is struggling in school or needs a ride somewhere, try to prioritize them and their need. When my brother is up late studying for a test and needs help mastering the material, I will go and quiz him to show him that extra love even though I know he can do it himself. It’s a matter of not letting him feel alone.
4. Go and root for them! When your sibling has a sports game or musical performance, show up for them and give them your support. My brother has come to every one of my dance recitals and that validates that I have his unwavering support.
5. No matter what, don’t give up on them. You are bound to have arguments with your sibling(s) at some point, but the most important thing is knowing that it can always be resolved. We know when to give each other space, but the beauty of being family is that there’s always a way back. It takes a simple “truce?”
Guide to Getting Along With Your Sibling by Elton Sjoenell
1. Sacrifice and Compromise
Sometimes you have to sacrifice beliefs or something simple like what movie you are watching to simply let your sibling win once in a while. Giving up an argument to prevent a worthless fight is key to compromise which benefits us as siblings. Sometimes it’s your day or sometimes it’s their day so you just have to meet in the middle. I know it best when it’s a Friday night and I can’t wait to watch the Office and the Bachelor is occupying the TV… Compromise works best.
Compliments are very necessary to get along with you sibling. To put your sibling in a good mood, give them compliments because it will only benefit both of you. When my sister is happier, I get more from her, so I try to give her compliments all the time. Compliments remind your sibling that you love them and boost their well-being.
3. Don’t dominate shared belongings
If you have a sibling who you share a bathroom or bedroom with, really SHARE it. This will make it seem more equal and more fun for the both of you. Awkwardly sharing a bathroom with a teenage twin sister (I am a guy) can be rough sometimes, but we split the time up evenly and it has really worked out. If you have shared friends make sure you don’t compete over them. There is enough love and respect to go around!
Sometimes you need to respect your sibling’s privacy so that you are not overcrowding them. Your siblings love being with you, but you have to know when it is a good time to let them do their own thing so that they have more fun when they are with you. If my sister for example wants to go out with friends that I’m friends with too, but she might want to be alone with them, then I can sacrifice one night to let her have her fun and her own privacy. Don’t think that your siblings’ secrets and crushes are your secrets, let them keep things to themselves because they might tell you later when it is the right time.
5. Have fun with them
Love your sibling and enjoy every second with them. If they are down, make them laugh or do something with them that they love. Have fun and make memories that last forever. I always try to crack a joke to bring my sister’s spirit up when she is upset or stressed.