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sister act Friends for life
sister act Friends for life

SOCIETY Siblings start off as rivals but end up sharing a close bond

SOCIETY Siblings start off as rivals but end up sharing a close bond It's like a wart you want to so badly remove, but slowly as the years go by, you realise that it has grown on you and became so much a part of you, that it even defines you - so said Garfield about his chum Odie. That is so true of siblings too. Of course, in those initial years, youfight like Garfield and Odie - learning toshare, give and take. Loving and loathingeach other. Being best friends and worstenemies, all at the same time. and amidall the tears you still share some greatmoments - laughing at some silly joke,keeping a big secret from your parents,sometimes just pouring your heart outto each other.And as the years go by, the bickering isreplaced with a sincere concern and certaintythat there is someone you can fallback on. Invariably though, the journeyis replete with black eyes, bruised egosand bitter battles.Craving attentionSays Zacharias, a sales professionalworking in Bangalore: "In most cases, inthe initial years, siblings believe theyhave to compete for the largest piece ofthe `attention pie' from their parents.That's invariably where the insecurity,rivalry and one-upmanship begin. If parentsconsciously or unconsciously allowthis inherent quality to grow, the rivalrystarts to build."Ravi Raman, working with an MNC,agrees: "Parents should ensure that insecuritydoes not dominate the thoughtsof children. It is at moments when theinsecurity is dominant that "rivalry" isstoked."I still remember the days when myyounger brother and I wanted full pantsonly because my elder brother got it!However, when one feels `safe' and `contented',affection and love blooms." SaysAditya James, an engineering student,who has a younger sister: "I think thatthe rivalry is just a part of the wholeMekhala Rao, a single child, says shenever missed having a sibling but agreesthat it is tougher on `single' kids, especiallyin their younger days, who have to`look after' themselves as they don't havethe emotional safety net of a big brotherto run to, or sisters who dispense advice."So, typically single kids can handle bullying,learn to fight their own battles andhave better social skills," she adds.Arathi Padmanabhan, who is based inCanada, admits sibling rivalry exists.But, she fondly remembers her growingupyears with her brother. "The yearsand geographical distance between ushave made us learn to appreciate eachother better. Recently, my dad was hospitalisedand we seemed to draw emotionalstrength from each other - quite afeat, considering the constant bickeringwe were used to," she laughs.Says Marina Furtado, the youngest ofthree siblings: "I never had rivalry issuessince I am the baby of the family. I neverhad to compete with them, never had toshare either! Of course, as the yearspassed, I have developed a very strongfriendship with both of them, especiallymy sister."Amrita Naik, who has a brother, says:"At the end of the day, family is family,and siblings are for life... you can chooseyour friends but you cannot choose family!"So, you learn to accept them. Andwith each passing year, you realise thatthe wart was actually not such a bother.On the contrary, it was something thathelped shape and define you.

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Parents would do well not to compare siblings, since that unconsciously sparks off insecurity and sows seeds of rivalryRivalry is part of the maturity process and is needed to get to the `peaceful zone'Distance usually helps you appreciate each other betterBINDU TOBBY

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