National Siblings Day, on April 10th, is a special day dedicated to honouring the unique bond that exists between brothers and sisters.
Siblings are often the first friends we make in life. They grow up with us, share our childhood experiences, and witness the ups and downs of our journey through life. But sibling relationships can also be complex; that shared history can harbour unresolved resentments or conflicts.
In this post, we will explore the history of National Siblings Day, the importance of sibling relationships, how they differ from the other important relationships in our lives, how they can break down, and how counselling can help repair sibling relationships.
A brief history of National Siblings Day
National Siblings Day was founded by Claudia Evart in 1995 to honour the memory of her siblings, Alan and Lisette, who had passed away in separate accidents. Claudia wanted to celebrate the bond that she shared with her siblings and encourage others to do the same. She chose April 10th as the date for National Siblings Day because it was the birthday of her late sister.
While the day is primarily celebrated in the US where it was founded the annual event has become more widely recognised around the world over the past 25 years.
The importance of sibling relationships
Often, we will have known our siblings since birth or from before we can remember. They are our first playmates and our first companions in life. They are the ones who have shared our joys and sorrows, and with whom we have made memories that last a lifetime.
When we are young, siblings can help us learn important social skills, such as sharing, cooperation, empathy, compassion, and conflict resolution. Siblings can provide emotional and practical support, a sense of belonging and security, and can be a source of companionship and fun. It’s little surprise, therefore, that research has shown that having a strong relationship with siblings can have a positive impact on our mental and emotional well-being.
How sibling relationships differ from other relationships
Sibling relationships are different from the other important relationships in our lives in several ways. Unlike friendships or romantic relationships, sibling relationships are not chosen; they are a product of circumstance. They are often not only the longest-lasting relationships in our lives but also among the closest; siblings know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, quirks and idiosyncrasies.
However, sibling relationships can also be complex and fraught with tension. Because of their shared history and family dynamics, siblings may have unresolved issues or conflicts that can strain their relationship. Siblings may also feel pressure to live up to certain expectations or compete for attention, affection, or resources, which can create resentment or jealousy.
How sibling relationships can break down
While sibling relationships can be incredibly strong, they can also break down for a variety of reasons, including competition, unresolved disputes, favouritism, abuse, jealousy or simply growing apart. External factors such as divorce, distance, or conflict in the wider family can also impact sibling relationships.
When sibling become estranged or their relationship becomes fraught, it can be painful and distressing for everyone involved and have a significant negative impact on our mental and emotional well-being. We may feel a sense of loss or loneliness, and our relationships with other family members may also be affected.
How counselling can help repair sibling relationships
If you are experiencing problems with a sibling relationship, family counselling can be a helpful tool to repair and rebuild the relationship. Counselling provides a safe and neutral space to explore and discuss the issues that are impacting the relationship.
A counsellor can help siblings communicate more effectively, understand each other’s perspectives, and work towards resolving conflicts. Counselling can also help siblings develop new skills for managing difficult emotions and navigating complex family dynamics. Through counselling, siblings can learn to rebuild trust and strengthen their relationship.
A reminder to reconnect with your brothers and sisters
National Siblings Day is a reminder of the importance of sibling relationships in our lives. Siblings are the people who have known us the longest and have shared our lives since birth. They provide us with emotional support, companionship, and a sense of belonging. While sibling relationships can be incredibly strong, they can also break down for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing problems with a sibling relationship, counselling can be a helpful tool to repair and rebuild the relationship. Remember that sibling relationships are unique and can have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. Take the time to celebrate and cherish the bond you share with your siblings, not just on National Siblings Day but every day.
If you’re struggling to connect with a sibling, counselling can help. Don’t give up on that special bond. The Spark is a leading provider of relationship counselling and family counselling in Scotland. Contact us directly via our enquiry form to talk about how counselling could benefit you.
Alternatively, we also provide support and counselling for adults through our Counselling Helpline. This free service is for any adult over the age of 16 in Scotland and offers support, signposting to specialist help and access to free counselling. Freephone 0808 802 2088 during opening hours.