|(Siblings, 2005 - we need a new photo of all of us, guys! Maybe at Christmas!)|
"The playroom is a dress rehearsal for life." That's the finding of several researchers and the ultimate conclusion of Jeffrey Kluger, author of the new book "The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us" (Riverhead Books). Read the full article here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/tribu/sc-fam-1025-sibling-effect-20111025,0,7967750.story
I've always been interested in what helps to form a person; one of my favorite books is the "Birth Order Book" by Kevin Leman (and yes, I definitely fit the oldest child profile). This article was great - interestingly enough, one of the biggest things we learn from our relationships with our siblings is how to successfully resolve conflict. Those who do well with this as children are more successful in our adult interactions.
Kluger talked about the fact that for most people, our relationships with our siblings are some of the closest and longest-standing ones that we have throughout our lives. We go through marriages, divorces, our children growing up and leaving home, and our parents dying - and through all of those things, we maintain our relationships with our brothers and sisters.
I also thought it was interesting that the author researched and wrote the book because of his own relationship with his "brothers, step-siblings and half-siblings" - which hit home for me. Whenever I tell people that I am the oldest of six siblings, I sometimes go on to explain that our family is "blended", and briefly tell the story of losing our mom, and our dad remarrying. We are definitely a mixed bag - my parents adopted me at six weeks of age, after trying to get pregnant for five years. As sometimes happens, the "pressure was off" and they then went on to have three biological children. Then when our dad remarried we added another sister; Tara was an adorable 3-year-old spitfire (I wish I had a photo to put on here!), and I can't imagine life without her. And finally, the baby of the family, Thomas - he came along when I was 15, and so we weren't very close growing up, since there was such an age difference. But now that he is in his mid-20s, we are finding more that we have in common, and becoming closer.
Our family has grown over the years, adding spouses and children to the mix, (uh, and losing a few spouses along the way, but we don't need to go there!) but through it all I think I speak for all of us when I say that our 2-3 times that we all get together each year are something that each of us look forward to... We start talking months ahead of time about what weekend will work best, and plans for who will cook what, what the latest drama is, and all of the other things that are part of being in a big family.
So thanks for the article, Tara - you're so right, it IS awesome that we have each other. I love you all!