When We’re All Grown Up
If you’re in your late forties or fifties, congratulations. You’ve survived major transitions in your life. You may have been divorced or, after some obstacles in the way, your marriage has become stronger and more satisfying. Your children, more independent than ever, may be in high school or off to college. And you may have taken a deep breath and changed careers or gone into the job market for the first time in years. You are freer to explore an expanded world. And that includes your relationships both inside and outside of the family.
It’s usually in middle adulthood that you’re able to forgive your parents for real or imagined “sins.” You may have “hated” your mother for reading your diary and have never forgotten what you determined was a serious invasion of your privacy. You always felt your dad loved your younger sister more but now realize that she required more attention, while you were more comfortable in your own skin.
Whatever your story, it is yours. And it takes time to understand that your parents did the best job they could. (Hey, if you’re a parent, you know this only too well.)
Where Do Brothers and Sisters Fit In?
Well, it depends on how unsettling the years between, say, forty and fifty can be. For those who go off the rails, the upheaval can be dramatic and put the kibosh on many relationships, including those with siblings. But once they have their act together and have weathered the potholes, they often move on to a renewed and stronger sense of family.
One fifty-year-old who did not get along well with her older brother put it this way: “As I’ve become more comfortable with who I am, I am much more able to appreciate my brother and his differences.”
Adjusting to an “empty nest,” navigating a new career, exploring ways to keep intimate relationships alive often bring siblings together as friends and/or confidants. Siblings can offer social and more often psychological support. One researcher described siblings as a type of “insurance policy.”
Choose the Best Description of Your Current Sibling Connections
Has your connection changed since childhood and adolescence?
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish