Your Cousins, Friends and "Second Siblings"

03 September, 2020
They are your “second siblings” and and you have a bond that will always be part of you.
 

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.

Your cousins are great playmates.

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. But, in other cultures, it’s not uncommon to see daily or regular contact. Several generations may even live together.

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.

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.

Read also: Judging Others Doesn’t Define Them, It Defines You

Your Cousins, Friends for Life

Two boys playing in the rain.

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.

A family playing together.

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.

 

See also: Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Allow your children to have the same positive relationships with their cousins that you had with yours. After all, they are your siblings’ children and sharing a bond is something that promotes hapiness and positive interpersonal relationships.

  • Estremero, J., & Gacia, X. (2008). Familia y ciclo vital familiar. Generalidades.