Sibling Relationship: Younger Sibling
We have so many blended families today. With stepmothers, stepfathers, stepsisters, and stepbrothers. Out in a category of their own are half-brothers and half-sisters. They may be close in age to you, but what if you have a sibling, half/step/full whatever, that is much younger. How do you spend time with them? Do you ever wonder what it is like for them to be that much younger? Do you wonder how you are going to get to know them? Do you not think about it much? Even if it isn’t on your mind much, it is on theirs. They are young and will want to know their family. You are older and wiser give them that attention and that bond they need.
My Personal Story:
My personal sibling situation started with my little brother, who I fought with daily from the time he was 4, being born 2 ½ years apart from myself. Our parents then divorced when I was 11 years old. Fast forward a “few” years later to the month before I turned 18, we were 17 years and 11 months to the day apart. There she was the baby I had been begging for since I was like 3 years old! All 7lbs 7oz of her, small, wiggly, and absolutely beautiful! I fell in love the second I held her, though she started to cry?! Then maybe 4 days later I had a friend ask me, “So you have a half-sister now huh?” I had never thought about it that way, still don’t if I am being honest. Then I noticed that my step-father’s children didn’t seem to come around to even see her, they are over 12 years older than myself. As she has grown older, she has started asking me questions about her other siblings, not much just little questions about them. To my surprise, she doesn’t really ever see them or know much about them. It made me wonder how many other older half/step/full siblings do not do much with their younger siblings. I talked to a few friends that have younger siblings like I do. Most of them do not have much to do with their siblings either. I feel that this is something that should not happen to a younger sibling because they need to have that sense of family and belonging with every member of their family they can.
How to Start...
If you are starting late and this is an older child or even young adult, jump right in there. You have already missed enough time with each other. Keep in mind they may not be particularly interested in hanging out with you now that they are older, but that’s ok they will come around. It is more than worth the rest of your life to bond with your siblings. They will enrich your life more than you can imagine. Family is important and as the older of the set it is your job to keep working on the relationship. Start calling them, texting them, and asking them if they would like to go for lunch. Make a big deal of special occasions with them like: their birthdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Spend time with them whenever you can. Bring your family along, if you have children bring them! When you start that bond it will be so incredible for them to be able to look up to you and talk with you. It will be amazing for you to have someone to watch grow and mature that is not your child, but you still get to be close and watch their life story unfold.
If you are starting with a baby or young child, boy did your job just get easier! When they are little they will naturally want to be around you and play with you so long as you are around often, or talking with them often if you do not live close. You need to be involved in their life as much as you can so they will feel comfortable with you. Try to make it to every special occasion. Try to be there for their school activities (make sure you tell your parent(s) that you want to be informed before hand of activities). Have fun with them, take them to the playground, and take them for ice cream. Even if you are much older you are not their parent so spoil them a bit! Take them to the playground, to the park, for a walk. No offense to the older parents, but my mother tells me all the time that it is hard for her to play with my sister all the time, thats is where you come in! That is part of the fun for you having a much younger sibling. Having a younger sibling is fun for you when you are much older make sure you are making it that way not only for them but for you also.
Of course I love my little brother even though still as an adult he drives me insane with all his texting and buying cars every 10 minutes, but my sister and I have a bond that I really can’t describe. It is mainly from our age difference. I am able to be an adult and help her with situations instead of being the cause of her problems at times like siblings the same age are. I am sure to tell people when we are talking about our families how great it is to have a sibling this much younger. I am proud of everything she does, not that I am not of my brother, but it is different when I can watch her go from a baby throwing up on me, to an 8 year old child running and playing with my children. All in all….I love my baby sister and I hope if you have younger siblings that you make it a point to be part of everything you can with them.