Sibling Relationships

Sibling Rivalry

As modern cultural norms shift from extended family units to nuclear family units, sibling relationships have been overshadowed by relationship issues between parents and children. In many ways, troubling sibling issues can be more challenging to resolve than parent-child issues. Without a cultural mandate to stick together or a therapeutic road map to reconciliation, may siblings in strained relationships see no reason to create harmony. According to Psychologist Joshua Coleman, cochair of the Council on Contemporary Families, in modern sibling relationships, the ‘rules’ are quite unclear.

Therapy may provide an atmosphere for healing and re-establishing the family bond. Depending on the goals of individual siblings, reconnecting can relieve years of guilt and regret. Often when a sibling does the cutting off, regardless of how much it may be objectively deserved sill has serious emotional ramifications. Those who initiate the estrangement often feel deep regret later in life, according to Jeanne Safer, a New York City psychotherapist and author of Cain’s Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret.