Before giving birth to my second child, I turned to Cup of Jo for advice on introducing the new baby and helping siblings get along. The ideas and stories in the comments section were so heartening. Here are 12 of my favorite reader comments on siblings (and then I called my sister just to tell her I missed her — we both cried!)…
On birth order:
“I’m Asian American, and as the first child, I was definitely tasked with being mom #2. My sense of responsibility gave my younger brother another person to turn to and guided me in my teen years — I never wanted my brother to see me doing anything that I wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining to him. Some people worry about putting too much responsibility on the older sibling, but I can’t imagine it any other way.” — J.
“We have a tongue-in-cheek saying in Norway about middle children — dritten i midten — which literally translates to ‘the shit in the middle.’” — Hilde
“I’m a quadruplet (four girls!) and the birth order theory still holds true. I was born first (by two minutes), but I’m definitely the ‘oldest.’ Most people think our ‘youngest’ sister is a few years younger.” — Katelin
“I am the mother of girl/boy twins who are now seven. Twins are the best nurture vs. nature experiment, and we tell our twins they are siblings that just grew at the same time. They were SUCH different people from the moment they came out.” — Alicia
On being there for each other:
“When my sisters, brother, and I were teenagers, my brother often did the shopping (ANY opportunity to take the car, ha!). He would get so annoyed if we put ‘pads’ or ‘tampons’ on the shopping list without a name indicating who it was for — he knew what each of us used, but he could never tell our handwriting apart.” — Anny
“I lost my brother 10 years ago. Sibling grief is not often discussed or understood, but Nick is forever in my thoughts, as well as the things that have happened over the past decade — god, I wish I could tell him. I got married, he’s an uncle! I miss him.” — Claire
“My brother is five years younger than I am. We haven’t always gotten along, but we loved each other deeply. Two years ago, we suddenly lost our dad, and I can’t imagine grieving without him. Plus, I see glimpses of my dad through him every day.” — Monica
“My only sibling died when he was 24. A year after his death, I found a birthday card where he wrote, ‘love, mike’ in his very messy chicken scratch. It was my first tattoo.” — Lindsey
On sibling rivalry:
“When we were growing up, my mom would make competitions where my brother and I were on the same team against her. For example, she’d challenge us to fold a pile of laundry faster than she could. That way we never competed against each other, only her! To this day, my brother is still my best friend and favorite teammate.” — Sophie
“When my three kids were young teens, I instituted a ‘siblings’ meal’ once in a while, where I dropped them off and picked them up, and they were not allowed phones, but they could pick whatever they wanted to eat, on mom’s dime. (They usually chose McDonald’s, lol.) They always came back gentler and nicer to each other, and since then when I sense they need some bonding time, I suggest/declare a ‘siblings’ meal’. I don’t pry too much when they get home, although I am dying to know what they talk about!” — Christine
“Fighting with your sibling teaches you that even when you love someone deeply and unconditionally, living with them day in and day out is hard. There will be stretches of harmonious Woodstock vibes; there may also be loooong stretches where the relational basal is mutual agitation. Siblings provide a master class in conflict resolution, compromise, forgiveness, tolerance, patience, self-advocacy, assertiveness, empathy, perspective-taking, and friendship. So, let the games begin, and let the learning ensue! — Ariadne
“I’m the firstborn of three, and I’m not sure my parents clocked when we were squabbling. When I resented one of my sisters, I’d sneak in her closet and spit in her shoes; she’d never know, but I sure would.” — Lauren
What would you add? Do you have siblings, or are you raising siblings?
P.S. More reader comments on childhood memories and parenting teens.
(Photo by MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy.)
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