Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Older Siblings Have it Rough…Sometimes



My sister and I in the 80s  All Rights Reserved

See that bratty blond kid in the picture.  Yeah, that’s me.   It was Christmastime circa 1980 something.  My sister and I had both received dolls.  My sister was happy with hers.  I wasn’t...because  I somehow  thought hers was better than mine.   So I scowled my way through the morning and right through the family picture session.  I’m sure I was a pretty big pill that day, especially to my older sister.    

Older siblings have it rough.   As the oldest, they are often expected to be the most responsible.  They have to be mindful of leaving beads, pennies and small toys on the grounds.  These are things that babies and toddlers love to stick in their mouths.   And, unfortunately, older siblings might be subjected to hair pulling, grabbing and the irrational ramblings of a toddler.  

As a younger sibling myself, I remember my sister complaining about me cutting off all of her dolls’ hair.  I also was given certain privileges such as getting my ears pierced and going on sleepovers at a younger age than she did.  

Older siblings are often held to higher standards.  Sometimes, the eldest gets in trouble just because he or she is older. In fact,  I can think of a dozen times when I said something along these lines:  “stop climbing on that….. your brother is going to want to do the same thing (and then he is going to fall, split open his chin and we’re going to spend the night in the ER).  Of course, nine times out of ten, he does follow her, because, she’s his sister. 

Older siblings have been given a great opportunity to be the good example, the Godly leader and the protective guardian.  At the same time, we need to cut them a little slack.  

For instance, even though I tell my daughter to be a good example, I realize she needs her own space.   I realize she’s just a kid too and makes her own mistakes.  She needs times to play with her beads and read her own books without having to worry about a two-year-old invading her space.   She needs to be given the opportunity to go on the big kid rides at the amusement park and see that movie that might be a tad bit too scary for her baby brother.   

Since my daughter is in school and my son isn’t, I get more alone time with him.  However, from time to time.  I’ll take my daughter somewhere by herself.  It may be to the park, to go shopping or even just on a walk.   It’s nice to spend some alone time with each child, to let their personality shine through and do things they want to do.  It’s equally nice to come home and let her play with her younger brother...because we’re a family and, at the end of the day, we are here to learn from and love one another. 

It’s tough being an older sibling, but it’s also pretty cool to have a little person that looks up to you, even if they try to draw on your homework!