Avoiding talking about Boris Johnson

I taped a radio interview on Love Sport Radio today, talking about sibling rivalries. They’d asked me on to tie in with yesterday’s news about Joe Johnson resigning from government.

I never comment in the media about specific people as I don’t know enough about their lives and it wouldn’t be respectful.

But I took the opportunity to talk about how we all find ways of managing in relation to our brothers and sisters as we grow.

There’s lots of research on this, and it makes perfect sense .. if you’ve ever watched those Springwatch programmes where chicks push each other out of the nest you’ll know what I mean. Resources are scarce, and children find any way they can to get as much power, love and attention they can.

Home is where most of us start learning about how to relate to others, and as we move out into the world we take these unconscious beliefs and tactics and test them out on others.

Are you the clever one, the sporty one, the cheeky one? Maybe you see yourself as the deputy for your parents in relation to your siblings?

Relating to sibling can become really challenging when we get older and we need to come together to decide on care for an elderly parent, or when a parent passes away. Often repeating sibling roles without thinking can really mess things up.

But we can all take the opportunity to have a look at how we’re currently relating to our siblings, and what we’d like to do differently.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you’d be behaving like this if the people involved were colleagues rather than siblings.

Notice any strong emotions and get curious about where they’re coming from. What old stories are you telling yourself? Are they still relevant?


The Woes of Sibling Roles

I’m a media ambassador for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and I was lucky enough to be asked last year to contribute to an article for Psychologies magazine that was published in the January 2019 edition.

It was a great experience, I chatted with the writer for about an hour about research, theory and my thoughts on how sibling relationships are developed and maintained. We talked about how birth order can play a part in this, as well as family patterns and personalities.

She told me a bit about something she wanted to shift in her relationship with her siblings and I suggested some ideas of things to think about that she went away and tried. A week later she told me she’d been surprised at the shift that had happened and that she was planning to keep going with the changes she was making.

You can read the article here, I hope you enjoy it!