Some of us have a love-hate relationship with our siblings. We might squabble over finances or butt heads over family responsibilities. But at the end of the day, they’re our kin and, it turns out, that’s more important than most of us thought.
According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, relationships with your brothers and sisters is key to our emotional well-being. If you have a close relationship with your sibling during college, this is a strong indicator of your emotional health at age 65.
But if you can’t seem to talk to your siblings without a fight, don’t worry. Fern Schumer Chapman, author of Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation tells USA Today that “siblings should expect to have conflicts, but in a healthy relationship, they feel confident that there will be repair and forgiveness.”
Related: 10 signs you have only child syndrome.
Think of some of Hollywood’s most famous brothers and sisters. If the Jonas Brothers can break up and then reconcile, who’s to say that you and your siblings can’t work things out? Of course, there will always be some that can’t (Prince William and Prince Harry, we’re looking at you!), but for the average family that doesn’t have to deal with the pressures of fame (or being part of the monarchy), sibling relationships offer closeness.
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t scenarios that can cause rifts for us in non-famous families. Chapman notes that milestones such as having a baby or parental illness can strain relationships, leading to competition or feelings of betrayal.
Related: How to tap into your apology language and use it to make your relationships stronger.
If you are estranged from your siblings, Chapman says the road to reconciliation can be challenging, and sometimes things can’t be fixed. However, if you’re someone who wants to make things right with a sibling you’re not close with, trying therapy can be a great first step.
Friends can fade, and exes get married, but siblings can be forever!
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