One is the happiest number?

Filed under: Relatives, Holidays

When I was growing up, just about every kid I knew had two siblings. My best friend, the kids I went to school with, and the neighbor kids were all growing up with two other kids in their house. I don't know where this three-kid quota came from, but every parent seemed to be happy to fill it, my own included.

For many families of my parent's generation, having just one kid was an idea that just never occurred to them. An only child is a lonely child, right? Maybe sometimes, but having siblings doesn't guarantee life-long friendship and happy times. In fact, for many it seems that all siblings guarantee is a life-long nemesis. Someone to argue with at holiday gatherings and avoid at all other times.

I got along well enough with my own siblings and still do. But my best childhood friend loathed her youngest sister and today, the two don't even speak. The kids that grew up across the street from me all left home and now live thousands of miles from each other with no communication. And they are the lucky ones. Several other friends live within spitting distance of their siblings and are in a constant state of distress over their rocky relationships.

Having raised an only child, I do know that loneliness can sometimes be an issue. But she's an adult now and I can see no ill effects as a result of being raised alone. On the other hand, my sister and I enjoy a close relationship and I am thankful that someone exists who knows me - and where I come from - as well as she does. What about you? If you have siblings, how's that working out for you?

How do you get along with your siblings?
My siblings are my best friends and I wish we could spend more time together96 (44.4%)
We get along okay, but family gatherings are enough76 (35.2%)
I tolerate them just to keep the peace27 (12.5%)
I can't stand them - any shared DNA is well hidden17 (7.9%)

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.