Younger Siblings Face Upsides and Downsides

Ella Kate McCord

“They normally hate my brother and then hate me for the rest of the year.”

Recently, Sally Goodsell had to go on a college tour, which is weird because she is a freshman. 

She was looking forward to the bell ringing at the end of a day right before fall break, but then she realized that she would be driving to a different school within hours. Frustrated that she wouldn’t get a real fall break, she explained how she would rather stay at school than go on this “awful” trip. 

Having to tag along on a college tour is not out of the ordinary for younger siblings because they are used to following their older sibling(s) - whether going to sporting events, college tours, practices, or games. This is one of the many frustrating things that younger siblings experience.  

It can be hard to follow in the footsteps of your older brothers or sisters. Coaches, teachers, etc. expect way more out of you than they normally would. Perhaps others expect less. Once these teachers or coaches have a perception of your sibling, it can sometimes be passed on to you. 

“They normally hate my brother and then hate me for the rest of the year,” said freshman Keya Nijahawan. 

Of course, this could go the other way where your older sibling is some kind of a genius and a teacher expects you to be the same. In both ways, expectations can add a lot of pressure to people. These exact same things can carry onto some parents. They compare you to your older brother or sister through grades and sports. For younger siblings, it feels like you have a lot of pressure to live up to what they were. 

Ironically, when younger siblings reach their teenage years they do not want their parent’s attention; although when one only sees their parents paying attention to their older siblings, jealousy arises. Girls tend to require a lot more attention than boys. Katelyn Nixon says that she and her sister fight for attention from her parents all the time. Alternatively, Sally Goodsell and Kathryn Koshmal express that they and their brothers never fight over attention and that it is never an issue. 

Being a teenager at the same time as your older sibling can be hard because siblings will express their love through fighting. But over time, you can grow closer together. “My brother is now my best friend,” said Keya Nijhawan. 

It's frightening to consider how the college process affects your junior or senior sibling and how much work it entails. They have no example to follow after so they are experiencing it with no prior knowledge, whereas you get to see the hard work that goes into getting into college(s). “I have so much more work to do than you,” said Keya Nijawhan’s brother out of frustration. Seeing the true reality of workloads and trying to figure out majors is terrifying. 

It’s always a difficult process that includes them taking anger out on you, but observing your older siblings is very helpful because you know what to expect for the future. “She has taught me a lot of things like the helpful actions that can help me through school and regular life,” Katelyn Nixon says.  You learn things that other kids your age will not know about until they experience it for the first time. You get to learn from all their mistakes and know what not to do. 

Having an older sibling is also great because you get to learn about a lot of the teachers and which ones are good and bad. “I learned how to navigate the high school through my sister and she gave me tips about each of the classes,” states Olivia Janis. 

Sisters tend to get along better in the teenage years. “We do share some interests, we both love Christmas and going to the beach,” says Katelyn Nixon.  For example, Sally Goodsell doesn’t have much in common with her older brother. “We share no interests besides liking music,” says Sally. 

Although the teenage years are hard to get through with having an older sibling, once they leave and all of the attention goes to you, you realize how much you miss them and that they are a crucial part of your family. Especially if you’re now the only child...

So, in the end, it is not all that bad. Just a few cuts and bruises and hey-aren’t’-you-so-and-so’s-brother along the way to get to the good part. 

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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