13 April 2012

Siblings Tell Their Stories

Posted by Jody under: Uncategorized .

Pam Silvestri, 35, of Dallas, and her husband, Rob, recently began thinking about having a child. The couple has discussed how they were raised, and how they would like to raise a child. Pam thinks good sibling relationships don’t happen without good parenting.

“I think good parenting often means getting out of the way and letting the siblings form their own bonds, and also letting them work out their own issues,” she said. She and her sister have not spoken in years, while her husband and his sister are lifelong friends. “The difference, as I see it, is that their mom did not get in the middle of their arguments. She urged them to settle their own differences and to support each other, no matter what.

“My mother, on the other hand, was always in the middle of everything that happened between my sister and me. I think parents need to let siblings settle their differences and issues, and learn to compromise. It builds the respect they need to have for a lifelong relationship.”

Melissa Migliaccio, 31, of Southbury, Conn., gets along great with her older sister, Lisa Schwalbach, 33, who will soon move to Boston. Although she’ll miss having Lisa in the same state, she knows they will remain close.

“My mom always used to stress that family was the most important thing in the world and that ‘blood was thicker than water.’ She used to tell us not to put friends above family. She also used to tell us that as an only child, she didn’t have the luxury of a sibling and always felt that something was missing. When we would fight, she would force us to make up because she didn’t want things festering that could develop into real problems. Lisa and I as adults have very different interests but are still best of friends.”

Most of Migliaccio’s friends are close to their siblings. They admit to fighting a lot growing up but cite the magic age of 24 or 25 as the turning point when they became closer with their brothers and sisters.

Migliaccio and Schwalbach lost their mother several years ago and their father more recently. “I don’t think parents have too much control over whether their children will enjoy close relationships as adults.

The only thing they can do is emphasize to their children that when the parents die, the only thing they have left is each other. Although friends move in and out of your lives, family is always there,” said Migliaccio, the mother of 2-year-old Andrew and infant David.

She does not remember her mother ever forcing a bond, but has fond memories of many girls’ lunches out and shopping trips with her mom and sister. As for her sons, she will encourage them to play together and be interested in the same sports. “I hope to also have them do household chores together!”

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