The Complexity of Family Relationships

I was reading a great article at Relationships Rules about sisters’ relationships. The article’s focus was on showing how big sisters are, and remain, the best friends in the lives of younger sisters. I am a big sister myself and I fully advocate the importance and immense value sisters have in each-others lives.

What captured my attention were the comments at the end of the article. A big number of comments from people that were living complete lack of relationships with their sisters. One group was crying for the permanent loss of their sisters due to physical causes (death). The other group was made up of ladies that have lost communication with own sisters, still alive. It was incredible to read their stories. Most of them complained about their sisters blocked them even in social networks, in order to forbid any type of communication between them.

I was surprised to see the repetition of the sentence “My sister has hated me my whole life”. And I was wondering if there were two real sisters in there commenting the same thing for each-other. More interesting were the reasons they gave for such strong negative feelings:

  • Some sisters hated them because they always thought to be better.
  • Some sisters hated them because parents loved more the other sister and openly expressed that.
  • Some sisters hated them because they claim not to be supported by their sister while growing up.
  • Some sisters hated them because they changed so much in adult life and could not support each-other anymore.
  • Some sisters hated them because their mothers wanted to be so and pushed daughters apart.

The common thing for all commentators was: they still loved their sisters.

I think direct interference of parents is their children relationships is not a smart move. Parents are in family like state is for society. Their main duty is to keep the family together and tighten bonds of the family. They should create the necessary ‘infrastructure’ for family members to love and respect each-other. For doing that, parents should be balanced and love and treat their children equally.

I’ve heard many cases when parents openly expressed their preference for one of the children, mainly for younger kids. This was one of the causes mentioned above. There is a scientific explanation for that, but I think parents should be strong enough to overcome physics when it comes to their children’s well-being. Balanced families require more efforts, but the end result is a fantastic one.

The informal rule in society is that the bond between fathers and daughters is stronger. The same applies for the connection between mothers and sons. Again, this is based on the law of physics: ‘Opposite things are drawn toward each-other’. But, I think sons need attention and support of their fathers in order to grow up strong men. The same applies for daughters, they need to learn and be supported by their mothers to become successful independent women.

Brother – sisters relationships are a separate chapter in the complexity of family relationships. These relationships vary a lot by the age of brothers and sisters. When brothers are older than sisters, they tend to be less involved with their sisters when become adults. On the opposite brothers that are younger than their sisters, tend to be more engaged with sisters when reached adultery.

Brothers relationships are similar to sisters’ relationships. If we add extended family’s involvement, complexity of family’s relationships increases. Taking care of own family is one of the most difficult duties in someone’s life. History have shown that many famous and successful people have failed to establish strong families, despite their talents and capabilities. Family is about tradition, emotions, involvement and influence of outside factors. Family equation is hard to be solved as we are part of its variables and could not be fully objective about what happens inside family. The most important thing to keep in mind when comes to family discussions is: to always love our family and be open-minded to accept everybody’s points of view. Open communication plays a key role in simplifying the complexity of family’s relationships.

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