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There is a reason my brothers and sister and I don’t trust each other today, as adults, and why none of us have any relationship with each other. It’s so inspiring for me, personally because now I dream of my own children being friends and supporting each other through life, and I am actively out here trying to make it happen.

My mom and dad raised all five of us kids in a remote location, a thousands-of-acres private estate dad was manager of, far from other humans. He was also the on-site dairy farmer and nearby harness race track manager, and later, in his free time, he became a lawyer.

With mom being an orphan she had no sisters or mother or aunts or anyone to talk to, and being physically isolated she wasn’t running into the neighbors who might commiserate about life with her. This, along with my father’s great need to be in ten places at once seven days a week, I believe, led her to use her five small children as a sounding board at times for her own problems in life.

Since there was not a lot of attention being handed out for which you might think we would all be vying, instead, I personally stood around hoping to hear Mom complain about one of my siblings, which she often did since she hadn’t really wanted five kids to begin with. The reason this was worthwhile was that with it came a fleeting moment during which I imagined that because Mom was unhappy with one of my sisters or brothers, she might by default like me. In those moments I felt a little important, momentarily, and I appreciated the shortcomings of my siblings. Now this may sound mighty extreme to your ears, but this is how it was.

Helping my children appreciate and love one another has not been a simple task for me. Saying my love out loud, acting out my love through kindness and patience have been the cornerstones of my effort. My case is extreme but it sure is handy for pointing out the easy way to spoil what has to be the more natural relationship between siblings. Teach your kids to love each other by modeling your love out loud. That way there’s no mistake how you feel. That way they may appreciate each other, too.