Did you know that siblings experience and express a wide range of feelings for each other that are connected to the children’s respective functions?
- Brothers and sisters are first and foremost mutual interaction partners. They do not just play with each other but are also rivals and they learn how to solve basic feuds along the way.
- Sibling relations are firm: conflicts can be worked through more easily than with peers.
- self-control and behaviour modification can also be learned in sibling relations. Older brothers and sisters are often role models with whom younger siblings identify.
- Their position within the sibling hierarchy confers a pioneer function on them, and they often perform care and teaching functions as well. These might develop into parenting functions if parents are unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities.
- Siblings can have a therapeutic function for each other, a positive relationship between siblings promotes the capacity for empathy and social understanding.
- Sibling relations nowadays are the longest-lasting relationships within the family. Parents are usually no longer there by the end of the life course of brothers and sisters, and spouses or companions come along later but brothers and sisters, on the other hand, are together in principle for a long time, even though the age difference between an older and younger sibling can be significant.
This is why one of our guiding principles at SOS Children’s Villages is Brothers and sisters. Our aim is to keep families together. If this is not possible, we try to ensure that brothers and sisters grow up together, keeping their own shared history and building a shared future.