Is it possible for siblings to become too close, and develope an unhealthy dependency on each other?

Jessica - posted on 04/11/2010 ( 4 moms have responded )




My brother and I were 10 years apart in age, with me being the oldest. As a result, I was more like a second mom and fierce protector than a sister. We didn't really start to get close as siblings until we were both adults. Unfortunately, when I was 28 and my brother 18, just as we began to grow close and become friends, my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident. I always envied my friends the friendship they all seemed to have with their siblings, and regret missing the chance to have that with my brother more than anything. For this reason, I have worked hard to make sure my kids are as close as possible. I've always told them that they should be on each other's "side" no matter what, or who, is involved. I've told them that although it is my responsibility to care for them both, they should also take care of each other, and one should never abandon the other in favor of another person. Of course, they each have their own friends and activities, but when they all get together, if any group of kids tries to exclude one of them, I don't allow the "favored one" to play with them either. Sometimes I wonder, if I might somehow make them too close. In other words, I'm afraid I could make them too dependent on one another. Is that possible? Should I back off? I want them to be close, but I don't want to cause their relationship to be unhealthy. I want them to be comfortable functioning separately, I just want each of them to know that the other will stand up for them, and is there to lean on if needed. What should I do?


Debbie-shea - posted on 04/11/2010




I dont think that you are facilitaing them developing an unhealty relationship. what concerns me is the fact that you wouldnt allow one child to play with friends if they dont want to play with the other. I understand if they are being mean to your child, then they are mean kids and i wouldnt want my kids to play with them either. I worry if you wouldnt make them annoyed with one another by making them be together when they dont want to be. I think you have given them the tools and the messages to be close and now you have to step back a bit and let them put what they have learned into action. I've heard the best thing you can give your child is the gift on independence. you want to make sure your nurturing them as individuals. But sounds like you have a great close family!! Thats what i want :)


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Natasha - posted on 04/14/2010




My two are 16 months apart and spend nearly every minute of the day together due to the daycare situation. I agree that they need to know that they are to look out for each other and build a close relationship. But I'm not sure I would not let neither of them play because one got left out. That is a life lesson they will encounter later in life and when you are not around and they need to learn, understand, and cope with it sooner than later (I say this w/o knowing their ages) With that said, because mine are so close in age, I do have a hard time treating them differently and have to make sure I treat them in respect of their age/birth order. I'm looking forward to when the older one starts school so they will be apart and start developing their own independence. My youngest is very dependent on the older one. I am glad mine are close so that they will be BFF's, but I think they can still do that while still having their own friends and not having to play together all the time. I envy the relationship my husband has with his siblings. My sisters are 4 and 9 years younger than me, practically generations apart, and are not very close at all.

Alison - posted on 04/12/2010




I don't think you should worry about them being too close. What you are doing is great!

How old are they at this point? I am not sure about forbidding them to see certain friends, but it really depends how old they are. You may want to talk to them about it rather than forcing the decision on them. Encourage them to make wise decisions rather than making the decisions for them.

Lyndsay - posted on 04/11/2010




To me it doesn't sound like this is an issue. I think its far better to have kids who are close in age and close with eachother than to have kids who are far apart in age and more like estranged. In my opinion, the only reason their interdependency on eachother may become an issue is if you as a parent are no longer fulfilling your own roles and responsibilities towards them, in which case they would have to turn to eachother for bigger things.

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