Your Cousins, Friends and “Second Siblings”

· August 30, 2016
They are your “second siblings” and are also friends that you play with and share sacred experiences with that enrich your lives. That’s why a relationship with your cousins is sometimes so special.

Your cousins represent a unique family bond. These close relatives or “second siblings” enrich your childhood and teenage years.

The psychological and social environment of the close bonds you form with your cousins is a special one. It’s similar to that with your parents and siblings.

Cousins are unique friends. In addition to sharing a paternal or maternal last name, together you’ve lived a thousand adventures, created countless memories and formed key pieces of one another’s maturity.

We invite you to take a closer look at this valuable relationship. It’s one that’s worth caring for today, and you should encourage your children to strengthen that family bond.

Your Cousins, Those Exceptional Second Siblings

Something interesting anthropologists have told us is that not all cultures place equal value on family in daily life. There are some countries where there is little friendly familial contact. Phone calls and get togethers take place once every month or so.

But, in other cultures, it’s not uncommon to see daily or regular contact. Several generations may even live together to care for the elderly, out of economic necessity or just because of simple reciprocity.

Discover Teach Your Children to Dream, Not Fear

Many people grow up with their cousins just a step from their home. Their grandparents may even live nearby and pick them up when, being at work, their parents can’t.

Growing up with this regular daily contact with habitual acts of affection and respect is a strong value in certain cultures. Every family member benefits.

2 reflection in water

Let’s see what your cousins can do for your childhood. Let’s also talk about what role they play once you’re grown up.

A Way to Socialize Outside the Immediate Family

When children come into the world, their first circle of interaction is with their parents and siblings. Long before they begin to build friendships with their peers, they’ll have social contact with their cousins. That can be very beneficial.

  • The quality of a relationship between cousins can be determined by a positive relationship between siblings. If you don’t have this affection link, it won’t likely appear outside the immediate family.
  • In fact, it’s not uncommon for many people to not even know some of their cousins. This is because their parents stopped having a relationship with their siblings at some point.
  • On the other hand, if the contact is positive and frequent, a child will find reward in that special friendship. This emotional component will create a lasting impression.

Your cousins are those second siblings with whom you can learn more about your grandparents, enjoy holiday and weekend adventures, get lost, discover, argue, laugh and create that “cognitive reserve” that helps you all grow inside.

Spend time with your cousins.

Your Cousins, Friends for Life

Something that everyone knows is that you may not get along with every single one of your cousins from your mother’s and father’s sides.

  • You’ll connect more with the ones whose values fit your own and whose personality traits give you support and joy when you need them the most.  These cousins are the ones who have been with you since childhood and enter into maturity alongside you.
  • Another common thing that can occur is that there are some people who maintain better relationships with their cousins than with their own brothers and sisters.
  • These are normal interactions that shouldn’t worry you too much.
  • Family obligations shouldn’t force you to pretend to feel something you don’t; you need to always follow the voice of your heart and your conscience, while always being respectful.
  • Cousins can be better than friends. They can be soulmates, people you will count on until the last day of your life.

Foster Good Relationships Between Your Children and Their Cousins

If you have good relationships with your siblings and your partner’s family, don’t hesitate to encourage gatherings that adults will enjoy and also allow the younger members of the families to get to spend time together.

See also: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

  • Don’t forget that children, especially in the first six years of their lives, are at an exceptional moment when every event counts.
  • If you promote games, adventures, afternoon snacks, laughter, pranks and songs among cousins, you’re not only giving them happy times but also wonderful memories that will help them grow up with joy and love.

Allow your children to have the same positive relationships with their cousins that you had with yours.

  • Angel, R., & Tienda, M. (1982). Determinants of Extended Household Structure: Cultural Pattern or Economic Need? American Journal of Sociology. https://doi.org/10.1086/227597
  • Taylor, R. J., Chatters, L. M., Woodward, A. T., & Brown, E. (2013). Racial and ethnic differences in extended family, friendship, fictive kin, and congregational informal support networks. Family Relations. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12030