Whether or not you like your siblings, at some point, you will probably be the only remaining members of your original family. You are the only ones who carry the history.
- when mother found her lost keys in the medicine cabinet
- when you hit your best home run — at the expense of your neighbor’s living room window
when your sibling drove the car into the garage but it kept going right into the living room.
Since research shows that more than 85% of siblings over the age of 65 keep in touch regularly, why wait until then to repair your relationship?
Most problems between siblings can be resolved – once you understand the underlying issues from each of your perspectives.
The cause of current sibling conflicts often has its origins back in childhood, sometimes having little to do with each other. Thus, getting clarity on the conflicts and finding ways to move beyond can be relieving – with the added advantage of possibly rebuilding a good relationship today.
If you were ever close in pre-school years, there is a very good chance you can recapture that. Even if you weren’t, a better relationship can be forged.
Here are just a few of the types of issues you might want to address in a Sibling Retreat:
- Resolving old grievances
- Getting along even in the presence of your parents
- Healing from childhood experiences – from a sibling or a parent — such as sexual abuse, violence, alcoholism
- Dealing with, preparing to deal with aging parents
- Thinking ahead for when you are the last ones standing
- Solving issues around a family business or inheritance
- Wanting to be closer
Siblings often are caught in the frozen images they had of each other in childhood. No matter how much you have changed, your brothers and sisters still see you as you were back then. And, you react to them now as you did decades ago.
Sibling Retreats are custom designed to meet the needs of you and your siblings; therefore, no two are exactly alike. This means it’s important for you to be as clear as possible with me about what you want. I recognize that at the start, some siblings are not clear what they want; they just want something different from what they currently have.
My goal in designing your Sibling Retreat, then, is to be flexible enough to meet your needs while providing the structure to make sure your needs are met.
General Description of a Sibling Retreat
(This is a general description that is designed to be flexible enough to adjust to requirements and needs of each individual set of siblings.)
We meet for a weekend — Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon. Whatever your specific concerns, you will have a minimum of 15 hours of discussion and exercises. You might need help in understanding the effect and impact of your old relationships and how to move forward today. You might discover why each of you has a different perspective on current and past situations. You probably will learn how your parents (perhaps inadvertently) caused ill feelings among you as children and the carry-over effect of that into your adulthood.
And, most likely, you will learn new information about your family and each other.
When we first meet, I will get an idea of what each of you would like to accomplish. (I understand you may not be able to put it into words.) Then, I design the rest of our time around that.
There are no lectures. The time together is for probing discussions, exercises and activities (often fun) that are focused specifically on your individual and group goals. At different points in the weekend, exercises may include all siblings or just subsets.
There will be breaks that are geared towards an assignment that grows out of the discussions. Some of the assignments may be for each of you alone or with all or some subsets of your siblings.
While a lot of important emotional, and often painful, issues get raised and settled, the Retreats provide opportunities for laughter and fun and enhancing your relationships.
By the end of your Sibling Retreat,
- You will clear up misperceptions.
- You will come away with a better appreciation for what each of you has experienced – in childhood and in your adult life.
- You will have answers to specific questions or issues you had when you arrived.
The weekend concludes with each of you having identified specific actions or behaviors you want to carry out in the months and years ahead.
You may or may not end up best friends, but the air will be cleared and any awkward tensions will be eased. A phrase I often hear at the end is, “Thanks for giving me back my sibling.”
Moving into being the oldest generation will be easier with good lines of sibling communications.
To read more about my Sibling Retreats, CLICK HERE.
For more details about location and price
Contact me at:
Dr. Karen Gail Lewis