If I ever end up having children, I would preferably want to have more than one. Not that there’s anything wrong with having an only child, but in my opinion, having siblings fundamentally shapes your personality.
I am the youngest child in my family, and I have a sister, who is older to me by three and a half years. When I arrived into this world, there was no one more ecstatic than my sister. Finally, she had a new playmate, a best friend, and someone to annoy for the rest of her life.
It is fairly easy to guess if a person is an older or a younger sibling based on common stereotypes. The older sibling is usually more responsible and self-sufficient one, the tester child who was disciplined far more harshly than the younger child, and yet they had all the firsts, which meant they were seen as the special prodigy.
The younger child is the baby of the house, was mollycoddled, and got away with a lot of things their sibling was not allowed to do. On the flip side, there’s an attitude of “been there, done that”. Fewer pictures of milestones their siblings have already crossed, and a lot of their things are hand-me-downs that their siblings have outgrown.
In my family, there was no middle child but from what I have observed, middle children are the ones caught in between; they are often forgotten, left to their own devices, and frequently serve as the mediator between the bossy older child and the rebellious younger one.
Growing up, my sister played the role of my second parent and my best friend, and when she was annoying, my worst enemy. Our arguments and sulking matches didn’t last long, however, because there was always something to talk about, whether it was family gossip or a personal problem we needed to vent about.
Our sense of humor developed together, to the point where even now I seek friends who roast me and have a sarcastic sense of humor, because that was the dynamic I was used to growing up. I’m grateful to have had a sibling because in my angst-ridden teenage years when I felt like the world was against me, my sister was the person who endured my teary rants.
For my part, I patiently heard her relationship dramas, covered for her in front of our parents, and helped her get her guard down and not be so detached. However, being the younger child also meant I had less expectations put on me and was babied by everyone to the point where a childish outlook followed me well into adulthood. I had to learn to “adult” a lot later. I was lucky to have patient friends to help me traverse through the challenges of adulthood, but being a younger child definitely shaped the way I approached life.
In her case, since she was the older child, a sense of control was something she always seemed to seek, even in her friendships and relationships; living and letting live is something she is still learning to do.
The bond shared between siblings is one like no other. It’s not like a parent-child dynamic, but you aren’t exactly friends either. I can’t tell my sister about a lot of the things happening in my college life, because in her head, I’ll always be the 10-year-old who wore a Hannah Montana wig and sang at the top of her lungs. This may seem unfair since a lot of the things I want to tell her are things she got up to during her youth, but because the older/younger dynamic is different, the rules about what to disclose are different as well.
That being said, siblings are a constant. They are always there for you, however mad you might get at each other. It is true that at some point, the relationship will no longer be as close as it was when you guys lived under the same roof; due to factors such as college, marriage or new friendships. But it is still a privilege to have a sibling in the first place. After all, they are the reason you learned to compromise, and to care about and to protect someone other than yourself.