Addressing sibling conflict, trauma, and friendship
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For some people, their sibling is their best friend – they are confidants and are there for each other in times of need. For others, the problems with a sibling may seem insurmountable. If a sibling could be such a valuable asset, or contrarily, quite disruptive – why is there so little research, and virtually no programs that offer help for adult siblings?
We’re taught that ‘sibling rivalry’ is natural, even beneficial, yet several studies illustrate how sibling aggression is a leading form of family violence that can result in Complex PTSD (see our reading lists). And when adult siblings come together to address the care of a parent who is disabled, infirm, or dying, hostilities may ensue, sometimes in front of their extremely vulnerable parent.
The Center on Sibling Dynamics™ (CSD) develops programs and materials designed to ameliorate harm from sibling discord, and to celebrate sibling affection, which may be adopted by agencies, organizations, communities, and directly by families worldwide. We also encourage, highlight, and our program evaluations contribute to multidisciplinary research on siblings cross-culturally.
“Let it Out!” – Discussion & Support Groups
“Let it Out!” is our series of facilitated peer Discussion Groups and Support Groups. We will offer four staff-led groups addressing our sibling relationships for people 18 and older: three closed 10-week Discussion Groups, and an open weekly Sibling Bereavement Group. Dates and Times to be announced shortly.
- Targeted Siblings* – I felt bullied or diminished by my sibling, it’s hard to shake off.
- Aggressive Siblings* – I want to be nicer to my sibling, but I’m not sure how to change.
- Sibling Caring for a Parent* – We don’t agree on the division of labor or who makes decisions.
- Sibling Bereavement – I want to share with others whose sibling also died recently or long ago.
* To ensure a safe space for all participants, family members are not permitted to join this group together. We will develop future programs where family members may participate together.
Learn more about our “Let it Out!” groups and what to expect.
Who is a sibling? Who do you regard as a sibling? For these services this includes those with a shared biological mother and/or father, adopted siblings, those in shared foster care, or those from a shared household. For “only children,” a sibling can include a cousin, close friend, or neighbor who is ‘like a brother/sister/sibling.’ With social media and digital games, a sibling can include someone online with whom one develops an intimate sibling-like relationship.
Contact us if you are interested in joining one of our groups.
Images (clockwise from top):
Shirley Charlton, No More Tears Brother, 2009, pastel on paper. © Shirley Charlton | Fair Use.
Abbott Handerson Thayer, Brother and Sister (Mary and Gerald Thayer), 1889, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Brian J. Kelly, Siblings. 2014. on flickr.
J.K. Califf, Siblings. 2011. on flickr.