Brothers, life partners and rivals

Are the first friend, accomplice, playmate and even rival. With them you learn to socialize with equals, to share, to respect and to live together. They help to know that the universe is not itself. Also with them you learn the meaning of emotions such as jealousy, anger and complicity. In a single day they can be the people you love the most and also the ones you hate the most. They are the brothers. The family therapist Àngels Ponce reveals the keys of the filial relationship especially when one of the brothers has a disability.

Between brothers, a special relationship is established from the start, different from all the others. With them there a very close bond, based on esteem and deep love, but that coexists with certain rivalry, since they must share the affection and esteem of the parents.

It does not matter if you have one or four, even if one of them has a disability, having siblings is synonymous with learning to share (from the time and attention of parents, to the most precious toys). And as Àngels Ponce, family therapist, points out, "that's not easy, it takes a lot of practice, a lot of fights and warnings from adults until we get to learn."

What is learned from the relationship between siblings

With the brothers, one learns to value the needs, illusions and concerns of another person besides ours. The expert explains that "this helps us develop empathy. This ability stands out among children who have a brother with a disability, since they show sensitivity at an early age, caring for them, developing alternative forms of communication that are much more subtle and that allow them to find forms of relationship or shared games that they do not use with nobody else".

Ponce indicates that "there are no significant differences between one experience and another, although it seems surprising" when in one family one of the brothers has a disability.
It does not matter if the brothers arrive sooner or later to the world. Always the first envies and comparisons awaken.

Consciously or unconsciously, we often enter into competition with our brothers. "And although this rivalry can be a source of frustrations and deep discomfort, it also has a positive side, since it leads us to develop our innate abilities and talents, and in this process, we also learn to team up with our 'rival' in the moments more unexpected, even to negotiate ", explains Ponce.

Brothers with some disability

The siblings of children with disabilitiesOf course, they are also seen as rivals. Above all, because they take most of their parents' attention and time. Hence, on occasion, they have to excel in something for good or for bad.

They test the reach of our patience, awaken our lowest instincts and take us to the limit and as Àngels Ponce indicates "there are few people who are capable of taking us out of our boxes as our brothers do".

Slowly, between the brothers a certain "complicity" is woven, for example when they share something that they hide from others. It is the quality that makes them understand with a look or invent secret games. "Possibly we can all remember a time when we felt closer to our brother or sister than to any other person in the world," says Ponce.

This closeness and complicity, is what leads to the young brothers of people with disabilities sometimes "confronting" parents, claiming for them more freedom, for example, or more opportunities (than parents, often out of fear, they are denied).

In short, siblings with or without disabilities are great teachers. Every day they offer the opportunity to develop tolerance and patience, and help to understand the true meaning of acceptance and forgiveness.

Àngels Ponce. Mindfulness instructor for families and family therapist

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