Your brothers and sisters are usually—or supposedly—the first friends you have had since you shared the same home growing up. However, reality is sometimes you consider them the most annoying people on earth, probably because of overfamiliarity and personality differences. In some instances, you might have even thought of them as competitors. Despite these, you cannot avoid caring for them—because they are part of your being.
Growing up in a big family, I know how hard it is dealing with a bunch of siblings who never fail to get into your nerves even because of petty reasons. Our best way of expressing affection is usually through playing pranks and making fun of each other. Dividing household chores among us has also been a constant source of squabble. Nevertheless, I have always wanted to make them feel important to me.
We love our siblings no matter what, right? Well, I want to share with you 15 ways of making our siblings feel loved. I have not perfected them yet, but I am trying my best to practice them. Hopefully, they help you too.
1. Find out their interests.
One way through which you can understand your siblings better is by knowing what their passions are. Once you know their interests, you will have an idea of what makes them happy—and you can use this to win them to your side. For instance, if you have siblings who love music, then you can treat them to a concert of their favorite artist (if you have the budget). You can also give them a musical instrument as a present for their next birthday. Or you can simply talk about music with them over a box of pizza.
2. Offer them help in any way you can.
If you know your brother or sister needs help with his/her school projects or laundry, then find time to help. Let down your pride, and take the initiative to ask what you can do for him/her. This will make your sibling see that s/he can count on you.
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3. Give them presents not just on special days.
It is normal for us to buy gifts for our family for their birthday or other special occasions. However, we do not have to wait for such events to express love to our siblings through giving. Even if it is not Christmas or their birthday, you can surprise them with small things that will show your thoughtfulness.
4. Go out with them once in a while.
Going out with your siblings is one fun way of spending time together. You can ask them out to stroll in the park or eat in a fastfood restaurant. You can also watch a movie in the nearest cinema. This can also help you unwind from stress.
5. Have heart-to-heart talks with them.
Usually, our siblings are the last persons we want to share our secrets with. However, it is time to remember that blood is thicker than water. If you can trust other people, then why not your own family? Make your brothers and sisters feel that you trust them by opening up about what you are going through. This would make them soften up to you as well, and soon you could be secret-buddies.
6. Be a trusted secret-keeper.
When your siblings confide their secrets to you, that means they trust you. Therefore, do not break this trust. If you promise not to tell their secrets with anyone, then do not tell a single soul about it. Protect that trust no matter what.
7. Listen to them.
We tend to be tactless with our siblings because of overfamility. We think we know each other so well that we do not need to listen to what they say anymore. For this reason, we easily give mean comments about what our siblings think or go through, without considering if these are appropriate or not. Starting today, when your sibling is in trouble, listen to what s/he has to say first before offering unsolicited advice. Also, sometimes, all we need to do is listen to them, and that can make them feel better already.
8. Tease them, but do not overdo it.
It is normal for siblings to annoy each other. However, too much of it can cause misunderstandings and serious fights. Thus, when you tease your siblings, know when to stop. Be sensitive to their feelings, and be careful with your words to avoid offending them.
9. Forget about childhood wars.
It is normal for siblings to have childhood fights. If you want a more harmonious relationship with them, forget about the toys they broke when you were small or the times you got spanked by your parents because of their faults. Instead of keeping the longtime grudges, reminisce them together with laughter.
10. Forgive them immediately.
Even as grownups, it is normal for siblings to have misunderstandings. No matter what they are all about, do not keep grudges towards them. It is okay to be angry, but do not let the sun down without you resolving the conflict. Be ready and willing to forgive them immediately—you are family—and they are part of who you are.
11. Be humble.
Pride is one of the reasons why sibling fights usually last more than necessary. For this matter, condition your mind from now on that you have to be humble for the sake of your love for them. Be willing to say sorry when you know it is your fault. You should also be ready to do the first move of reconciliation regardless whose fault the fight is.
12. Check on them from time to time.
If your siblings are far away, or you seldom spend time with each other, find ways to check on them. You can call or chat them. Ask how they are doing and what they are up to in the recent days. Even if you do not see each other often, you can still let them feel you care for them.
13. Support them in pursuing their dreams.
One of the best encouragements that people can get to keep on pursuing their dreams is their family’s support. You may not understand the passion or career choice of your siblings, yet let them know that you are cheering for them. Assure them also that you got their back if they fail along the way, and you will help them get back up.
14. Make them feel you are not a rival.
Because of comparisons that siblings normally get from relatives, family friends, and even parents, some children develop insecurities, and they start seeing their siblings as their competitors. In case this has happened in your relationship with your siblings, show them you are not a rival by boosting their self-esteem. You can do this by sincerely praising them for their achievements and abilities. Also, point out their strengths that you do not have. You can also remind them that you are all unique, so you should not be compared.
15. Do not be afraid to give them a hug.
This is not easy and even awkward to do if you are not naturally sweet and you come from a family that is not expressive. However, it would not harm if you initiate creating this new habit of sweetness. You can start hugging them in a teasing manner until such time you all become comfortable with it.
Make Most of Opportunities to Show Your Care
Time will come when you and your siblings would be so grown-up and busy with your own lives that you seldom get together already. While you still can, enjoy your moments together and create more meaningful memories. This way, you can create a strong bond that distance and time cannot break over the years.