So your brother has a new rifle and you really want him to start feeling generous with you, or your sister has bought a brand new Vera Wang dress and you would really like permission to wear it every once in a while…or this weekend. Well, you have come to the right place. Sibling relationships are multi-layered, but if you conquer each layer you have a rock-solid relationship with your new favorite brother or sister.
What kind of relationship do you already have? Sibling relationships tend to fall into one of three categories: Competitive/territorial, Supportive, and Independent. Not that these three types are not self-explanatory, but I will go into detail anyway. Competitive/territorial relationships tend to be lifelong races to see who gets their education finished first, who gets married first, who goes farther, and who earns more. If both siblings are constantly tied, they tend to get more aggressive and compare smaller things, like whose spouse is better looking, and who gets along better with mummy and daddy.
Supportive relationships tend to occur between sisters or really close brother and sister pairs. They also tend to occur when siblings live together or are around each other daily. There are little fights and tiffs, but for the most part each sibling actively supports and encourages the other and even if one does not have a vested interest in the business of the other, they will go out of their way to help each other build their dreams and reach their goals.
Independent sibling relationships are where siblings either do not want or do not need to be close in order to have a relationship with each other. Even if they live together, they have separate lives, do not lean on each other and take responsibility for their own actions.
Play to their strengths. The best way to play to your sibling’s strengths is to not become dependent upon them, even if they are a protector or provider type of personality. In this manner, respect is still maintained while you work on your relationship. Focus on what they do best, whether it is strategy, execution or follow-through. Try to compliment their strengths by filling in the rest of the pie chart. If they are excellent in execution, you might try helping them with strategy or follow-through. If they tend to be harsh and cold, bring some warmth into the home by being especially caring and considerate.
Be their rock and foundation. In addition to complimenting their strengths, be their foundation on which to build their lives. If they never received much encouragement, tell them how much you admire and respect how far they have come in life. If they never received much trust, ask them to fulfill roles in which you obviously think of them as trustworthy. If they have problems with irresponsibility, be the one person in their life who gently and without judgment will not help them out, but inspire them to work things out for themselves.
Give them gifts and words of encouragement. Food for the body is rarely ignored, but food for the spirit often is. Pour out words of life and healing and love and believing into their ears. Give them gifts for no reason at all, and often tell them how highly you think about them. Write them letters of encouragement to show them how much you love and cherish them.
Siblings are blessings which can often seem like curses. We alternately love and hate them within a day. We would die for them if something bad should occur and threaten to kill them over the littlest things. Show your sibling what you think of them today.