Siblings can be friends
Homeschooling / Parenting / Unschooling

In case you didn’t know… Siblings can be FRIENDS!

Siblings can be friends

Shocking announcement: siblings can be friends.

It seems like this needs to be said. People are under the impression that it’s rare. But I get it. I didn’t know either.

When I was at school there were two sisters a couple of years above me who were identical twins. I remember thinking to myself how strange it was that they were in the same classes and had the same friends. How could they share friends? It just didn’t make sense to me!

I just could not imagine it! Did they treat each other like friends? How could they be sisters and friends? Weren’t those things incompatible?

Siblings can be friends

At school siblings were separate. You definitely did not play together, you were lucky if they even acknowledged you when you saw them. That’s just the way it was. Everyone knew it.

I even had people make comments when my daughters were younger, before we had decided to forgo school, that when they got to school they wouldn’t be so close anymore. That they would think their siblings were embarrassing and tell them to ‘go away’. These remarks were made with a laugh as if it was inevitable part of growing up. But, when I looked at my daughters who absolutely were friends, all I felt was sadness at the idea of that coming to an end.

“The age segregation in schools socializes children to look with disdain at those who are younger (much to the detriment of their relationships with siblings) and to conform themselves to whatever expectations people have for their age group.” – Rue Kream

I wondered if it really had to be this way. Was it truly inevitable?

Siblings can be friends

The answer was no. As it turns out, when you ditch the schooling, you may also avoid damaging relationships between siblings. It is one of the many many gifts of choosing a life without school.

I want to dispute the myth that siblings practically hating each other is normal and unavoidable. For my children, and many other children I know who don’t go to school, siblings are their closest friends.

Are we convinced that harmonious sibling relationships are not ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ so that we more easily accept the damage to relationships caused by school? I have heard many stories of siblings at school being discouraged or even banned from playing with each other during school hours. Twins are often separated into different classes, as if being too close is unhealthy. Or do we prefer to see it as normal because it’s too hard to address if the cause is in fact school?

Siblings can be friends

It’s time to say no, this isn’t ok. This isn’t how it’s meant to be. Separation and disconnection is not a healthier option. Siblings are meant to grow TOGETHER.

They absolutely CAN be friends. They can enjoy each other’s company, share a friendship group, hang out together, and have a beautiful close relationship. And it is wonderful. It is not harmful, but BENEFICIAL. Children were meant to be together, not separated into groups dependent on age and isolated from others.

“My work has convinced me that age-mixed play is qualitatively different from play among children who are all similar in age. It is more nurturing, less competitive, often more creative, and it offers unique opportunities for learning.” – Peter Gray

Watching my girls together is magical. They bring so much to each others lives! I can’t imagine that being taken from them.

They learn from each other.

Share joy and affection.

5 Ways We Undermine Empathy Development in Children

Cheer each other on.

Share friends and memories.

Siblings can be friends

Explore the world together.

Spend hours immersed in their own secret world of imaginary games.

And there is always someone there they can turn to; who truly knows who they are; who is a part of them and their story.

Siblings can be friends

It’s true that schooling does not always preclude close sibling relationships, but it would be naive to believe that so many hours of separation have no impact. Neither is it certain that unschooling will definitely lead to close bonds, however, you have more chance of fostering that if you are together.

It is not inevitable that siblings will drift apart as they age, that they cannot be close and enjoy spending time together. It’s often school that interferes. You can’t be forced apart for most of your waking hours and then still be expected to be tuned in to each other’s needs and experiences.

Siblings are important. Siblings can be friends. I won’t let school take that opportunity away from them.

Siblings can be friends


Willena Flewelling
June 1, 2018 at 5:03 am

I am the mom of 7 homeschooled children, all but one who have grown up and left home. I absolutely agree with you that siblings can be friends. Ours are now ages 18 to 35, and they still love to get together with each other and with us as a family. Our two younger daughters shared a room from toddlerhood till they were 21 and 23… and they still share an apartment at ages 29 and 31. We consider it a real blessing these days that our kids get enjoy one another, and are so close.

June 2, 2018 at 2:18 am

Love. Agree. As an adult it makes me sad for all the time I spent as a child hating my siblings. Thankfully we are close now (albeit far away).

June 29, 2018 at 2:15 am

My siblings and I had a love and hate relationship when we were young. We almost always don’t agree on everything. We realized we love each other after being away from each other. One by one, we left our home for college. At present, we are all married and have children of our own. I cannot wait for Sunday because everyone gathers in our parents’ house and spend the whole day being altogether – from breakfast until dinner.

Agnete Winther
June 23, 2019 at 10:52 pm

I sometimes wondered as a child why my friends at school seemed to hate their siblings. My little sister and I were best friends before we went to school and even after I always enjoyed playing with her more than playing with my friends at school.
It wasn’t until recently it dawned on me. While more than 9/10 children in my country is sent off to daycare at 10 months my sister and I were at home until we started school. No wonder people don’t form close bonds with their siblings when they are separated all day long right from the start.

Marzi Illes
October 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Hello everyone,
My wife keeps sending me articles like this to convince me to have another child. I’d have another 10 if it would be that easy and my goal in life, but I don’t feel it is. I know how good is to have a brother, I’ve got an older one. My wife doesn’t have any siblings.
I also have many friends and some are very close to me, I feel them like brothers and sisters. My question is, what do you think, can friends be siblings? Bilogycally of course not, but on any other levels?
My idea is to live in small self-sustainable communities, we are heading towards a life like that, where kids/and adults are free to live, all ages together, unschooled, unsystemed, in nature, free to express, free to create, love, share life, using our own ideas beside ancient and conscious modern techniques. Living like this, siblings will be friends and friends will be siblings, aren’t they?

May 3, 2021 at 7:00 am

Ahaha!!! 😁
I’m “the wife”, just read this comment and really had a nice laugh…
Just wanted to say that now our daughter has a 9months old sister!
And I still believe they can be friends 😉

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