Back in the day when you were a little tike who do you think shaped you into the person you are today – your parents or your siblings?
Michael Grose (author and parenting guru) says “We usually take our personality cues from the sibling above us.” Is this true for you?
I have two siblings – one I spent a lot of time with and one I didn’t. They both helped shape me. I did share a bedroom with my sister who is the sibling above me. I could say that she influenced me more than my brother did just by the sheer volume of time I spent with her. Not that I’m a clone of my sister but we have far more in common than my brother and I.
But I’d say that my brother did influence me in a different way. He helped shape my opinions of how I think siblings should relate – just because he wasn’t around much.
Looking at my sister I can see how my brother influenced her – not so much that she followed his example, but more that she rejected it.
But my brother is the eldest, who influenced him? My parents….definitely. But I wonder if he is at all influenced by my sister and me? Did he get anything from us or did he feel like he had to always give?
From my point of view, I don’t think I’ve influenced my older brother or sister in any way. In fact, for a very long time I didn’t feel like I was taken seriously at all. So maybe Michael Grose is right the older siblings influence younger siblings; not the other way around.
My siblings did help shaped what I liked about popular culture – an area parents didn’t even get a look in.
But if I examine myself, my personality, the very thing(s) that make me who I am, I’m not sure I could say that my siblings have it over my parents; or the other way around. They each taught me different things, and they all taught me the same thing.
When does the influence stop?
Having said all that, I need to turn my attention to my kids. So does that mean I need to raise “good” kids not just for themselves, but for the younger siblings too?
Just the other day Jordan, my eldest (6), and Alex, my middle child (4), were negotiating the usual way children do. Jordan says to Alex, “If you don’t play with me then I won’t be your best friend” (honestly where do they get this?).
Alex replied with, “Aaawwwwww Jordan”.
Is this a personality defining moment?
This post first featured on my other Mum’s Word blog “Who Was The Bigger Influence? Parents or Siblings?”