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Why you should stop parenting your sibling.

Happy Sibling's day!

Sibling relationships can encompass friendship, competition, and occasional unintentional role shifts, where one sibling takes on a parental role for another. This phenomenon, known as "parentification," occurs when a sibling assumes parental duties for their brother or sister. While this usually comes from a place of care, it can impact both siblings' emotions and their relationship dynamics.

Parentification manifests in various ways, such as offering advice and comfort, managing household chores, or even providing financial support. Despite seeming helpful, these actions can blur sibling roles and hinder their ability to develop independence.

In sibling relationships, particularly between older and younger siblings, the older one may tend to adopt a protective or authoritative role over the younger one. This dynamic can contribute to parentification, where the older sibling feels responsible for guiding and looking after their younger counterpart. However, it's crucial to recognise that the older sibling is not inherently obligated to be the path bearer or protector for the younger sibling.

Assuming this role can create undue pressure and limit both siblings' personal growth.

Similarly, the younger sibling should not feel compelled to merely agree with or follow the path set by the older sibling based solely on birth order. Sibling relationships should transcend these traditional dynamics and be founded on mutual respect, understanding, and independence. Each sibling should be encouraged to explore their interests, make their choices, and carve out their unique paths in life.

A key reason to avoid acting like a parent to your sibling is to allow them room to grow and gain confidence in their abilities. Constantly intervening to solve their problems or make decisions for them can make them feel like you don't believe in them, which can damage their self-esteem. Moreover, assuming a parental role can create negative feelings and stress within the relationship. The sibling who feels parented may perceive it as bossy or controlling, leading to feelings of inadequacy or a desire to rebel. Meanwhile, the sibling taking on the parent role might feel burdened and stressed by the responsibilities, harming the relationship.

It's essential to understand that while siblings often want to help each other, there are better ways to provide support without assuming a parental role. Instead of taking charge, focus on open communication, mutual respect, and collaboration. Allow your sibling to make decisions and learn from their mistakes, even if it means stepping back and letting them face the consequences.

Establishing boundaries is also crucial in preventing parentification. Communicate that you're available to help and give advice, but emphasise the importance of their independence and personal space. Encouraging them to seek support from other sources like friends, mentors, or professionals to build a diverse support network.

Ultimately, the goal is to cultivate a balanced relationship where both siblings trust and support each other equally. By refraining from parenting your sibling and empowering them to navigate their own lives, you promote their personal growth and strengthen your bond as equals, rather than one exerting authority over the other.


Could you identify any Philosophical themes or thinkers work from this blog?

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