Friday, April 10 is National Siblings Day, a day for the 80 to 90 percent of Americans who have siblings to celebrate their brothers and sisters. Celebrating Siblings Day can be as easy as sending a card, sharing a meal or doing a favor for a sibling.
“There is no relationship like the ones we have with our siblings,” said Montclair State University Family and Child Studies professor, Dr. Jonathan Caspi. A leading expert on sibling relationship dynamics, Caspi is the author of Sibling Aggression Treatment andSibling Development: Implications for Mental Health Practitioners. He has identified five reasons to celebrate Siblings Day:
- Siblings may have a greater influence on who we are or who we become than our parents and peers do, according to a growing body of research. Sibling relationships are intense relationships involving support, love, competition and conflict. Like it or not, so much of the way we handle relationships, closeness, competition, give support, argue, resolve conflicts and play we learned from our interactions with our siblings.
- Recent research is showing how important sibling support is for bolstering resilience and coping with difficult life experiences.
- Sibling relationships are the longest-lasting relationships most people have – and more people have siblings than they have children or spouses.
- Only with a sibling can you authentically commiserate about mom and dad and the crazy things families do!
- Siblings are who we confide in. They know our deepest secrets and share in family experiences – both the good and the bad. Witnesses to our most embarrassing and proud moments, they are the keepers of shared memories and personal histories.
Created by Claudia Evart, the Siblings Day Foundation established a National Siblings Day, celebrated on April 10, the birthday of Evart’s late sister, Lisette. Since 1998, 85 governors – including former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman – have signed Siblings Day proclamations in 49 states.
For the roughly 20 per cent of Americans who are only children or “singletons,” there is National Only Child Day, which is celebrated onApril 12.
“The advantage of being a singleton is that there is no competition for parental resources,” said Caspi. “This is often an explanation for reported high achievement of only children, who tend to be high achievers like first-borns.”
The downside? “The lack of sibling support, which is so important in resilience and coping.”