Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, Ed.D, MSS at www.lovevictory.com
Reasons Why Getting Along with siblings is So Crucial
The Most Common Problems of Having Siblings-in-laws
What Can You Do if You Have Siblings-in-law Problems?

Why are the siblings so important in approving your choice of mate? It’s easy to sweat out meeting the parents. Just think about the movie “Meet the Parents.” Few future in-laws are as quirky as these, but the movie skimmed over the siblings’ reactions. Parents and their attitudes toward future sons- and daughters-in-laws will always be important, but siblings have been rising in significance.

Reasons Why Getting Along with Siblings is So Crucial

1. Parental divorce makes siblings more important.
Today’s men and women of Generations X and Y come from families with the highest rates of divorce. This split in the family fabric often leaves siblings “banding together” against the emotional upheavals of divorce. These siblings can confide in each other without having to “go through the whole story” of what happened in the family. They rely on each other for support and clarification. It’s far easier to turn to a sibling and say, “Dad’s like that sometimes,” rather than have to start from scratch and explain everything to a friend. In families of divorce, often there is a child who becomes a “designated parent.” This sibling’s opinions can sometimes be more important than the parent. Children have too many conflicting feelings about parents and divorce. Having a trusted, reliable sibling as parent by-passes some of the confusing feelings toward the parent—even if the sibling is bossier or harder than the parents. Siblings soon become the first line of defense when relationship problems develop.

2. Siblings are forever.
Friendships come and go. Siblings usually stay forever. They know you now, they knew you then. When siblings are close, they can look out for each other in ways that parents can’t. For example, it’s far easier for an adult child to share their intimate relationship problems with a sibling instead of a parent. Siblings, regardless of ages, often stay in touch more frequently. They seem more like co-equals and may not activate the complexity of feelings toward parents—especially if the parents divorced. Siblings expect each other to be in their lives longer than parents, so siblings may invest more in these relationships. We all have needs to attach, belong and be known—and siblings are the perfect people to provide these needs. It’s no wonder that siblings’ impressions count! Sometimes, however, having future sisters-and brothers-in-law can create problems.

The Most Common Problems of Having Siblings-in-laws

1. The new spouse feels “left out” of activities, conversations and rituals.
2. You may not like them.
3. You don’t know what to do when that sibling makes does things that truly irritate, such as leave a mess, criticizes or shows up late or drunk.

What Can You Do if you Have Siblings-in-law Problems?

1. Accept that your siblings-in-law most likely will not end up as your next best friend. Aim instead at getting along. You don’t have to like someone to be kind.

2. Reign in your jealousy over your spouse’s connection to this sibling. They existed long before you. If their parents have been divorced, they siblings might have formed an even stronger bond.

3. Arrange to spend time with your new sibling-in-law alone. Go to lunch or an activity they like. Take out your pen and paper and write down their birthdates and likes and don’t-likes.

4. Choose your battles. Don’t get upset over the small stuff.

5. However, if larger issues like being drunk, borrowing money and not returning it or being rude to you occur, ask your spouse ways to handle the issue. Spend your time on getting solution-focused and NOT on re-hashing the problem.

6. Take your time to get the “lay of the land” before you start complaining.

7. Don’t fight your partner’s sibling and parenting problems for them. You will end up disrespecting your mate. Instead, ask your partner how he or she feels about a particular event and whether they would like your help. Unsolicited advice has a way of backfiring.

Author's Bio: 

Dr.LeslieBeth Wish, EdD, MSS, MA
Nationally noted Psychologist and Social Worker, Lic. as Clinical Social Worker, SW 7132 FL; 3941 MA; 2850 MD.
Be a part of the Strong Women and Love Research Project.
I am a psychologist and social worker, nationally recognized for my work with women's relationship and career issues and my work with soldiers and their families. I invite you to participate in my research by taking the survey, which you can find on my website, www.lovevictory.com. Click on the upper right Research Box to learn more. I will draw at random the names of three women who will win a free one-hour counseling phone session with me and a copy of the book when it is released.
You can also follow the love adventures of my cartoon character Almost Smart Cookie. You can access her adventures through my website. Just click on the link under Cookie’s face.
My work as the Clinical Director as the New England Institute of Family Relations, the first Masters and Johnson-based sexual dysfunction clinic in New England, and my research-based book, Incest, Work and Women (with my name as LeslieBeth Berger), earned me national recognition and honor as a pioneer in sexual dysfunction and women's love and career issues. My book uncovered the connection between women's childhood abuse and their career problems.
That research sparked my next ground-breaking project on the relationship problems of today’s strong, capable women, age 20-40+. I am writing this next book, Strong Women and Love to help women get over their mistrust, fears and unhappy, unhealthy dating patterns and learn to date and love smart!
I am a regular feature contributor to major self-help sites such as helpstartshere.org, the award-winning consumer site for the National Association of Social Workers; w2wlink the premier web community for professional women, networkabundance, a multimedia community and selfgrowth, Yahoo and Google's number one self improvement site, where I am the family expert.
My expert advice is frequently quoted in many major newspapers, magazines and websites such as The Washington Post, USA Today, Women's Health, US Weekly, More, VivMag, Better Homes and Gardens, Woman’s Day ,For the Bride. I am a speaker for non-profit, corporate and university organizations. I offer sound, research-based relationship advice that makes sense -- specializing in issues such as smart dating, women's relationship advice, career coaching, families, post-traumatic stress, sexual dysfunction, and leadership training.
My Education
University of Massachusetts, Doctorate in Adult Developmental Psychology; Bryn Mawr College, Master in Clinical Social Service; Georgetown University Medical School: The Family Center, three years-post graduate training in marriage and family with the internationally esteemed Dr. Murray Bowen; Ohio University, Masters in English; Carnegie-Mellon University, Bachelor in History and English.

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