Here’s Why Your Kids Need to Bond With Their Cousins

If you grew up with close cousins, then you understand: the bond between cousins can be as strong, if not stronger, than the bond between siblings. Sure, having brothers and sisters is great. But having a close-knit relationship with a cousin can be equally beneficial. A cousin can be the brother or sister you don’t have to spend every moment with, or share every toy with! We all know that siblings, even close siblings, experience conflict within their relationships from time to time. But a cousin is like the sibling/friend/support system that can change based on your child’s needs. It’s so important to make sure you facilitate a strong bond between your kids and their cousins. Those relationships will shape your kid’s life, from childhood into adulthood.

Cousins are that special family member who is uniquely suited to offer emotional support, especially for kids without siblings.

Familial support is so important! It can come from many sources within your family. But if your kids have a cousin that’s close in age, they often share the same generational ties, so the connection and bond is so much stronger. We look to our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles for guidance, the kind that comes from age and experience. But on a peer-to-peer level, a cousin brings to the table a uniquely shared experience, both within your own family and in life in general.

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That sort of peer bond is so incredibly beneficial for kids. Especially as they begin to navigate the often treacherous social landscape that is developing friendships. It doesn’t come easy to every kid! And while friends may come and go, family is (usually) around for the long haul. For a tween or teen struggling to bond with their non-familial peers, having that relationship in the corner pocket can be a life-saver.

Even kids with siblings need to have strong bonds with their cousins. Sometimes the call comes from inside the house, if you catch our drift.

Sure, you want your kiddos to be close to each other, right? But everyone needs an outlet, one that isn’t so closely situated to your life. You don’t complain to your siblings about your siblings! But having a closely bonded cousin to turn to when you need support can help sibling relationships, too. Conflict resolution is key in developing strong bonds and lasting relationships. But sometimes, we need an outside perspective to help us resolve our issues, or open our eyes to looking at a situation in a different light.

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Kids might even feel more comfortable being themselves around their cousins than they would their own siblings. A bonded cousin is so much like you (like a sibling!), but just different enough to make it more fun or beneficial to spend time with them. They know your history, they know your family, but they don’t know know them, you know?

If your kids have cousins, it really should be a priority to make sure they have ample opportunity to bond with them. Those bonds will serve them well in childhood and adulthood, and will likely end up being some of the strongest relationships they have.

(Image: iStock / pixelheadphoto)

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