As someone who’s been growing up with two younger siblings for nearly all my life, I’ve definitely experienced the ups and downs and everything that comes along with having two younger brothers. I find it interesting to look back and compare my relationship with them now as opposed to what it was like when we were younger. Through the years, we have definitely gone through different stages, not only individually, but as our own little group, as I think most siblings can relate to in some way or another.
This is a really interesting thing to think about. My siblings and I have definitely had relationships that were better or worse over the years and I wonder what all the factors and reasons behind that are.
I think a lot of the dynamics of a sibling relationship really depends on the age difference between kids as they are growing up. My middle brother and I are only about a year and a half apart and even though my youngest brother and I are over 5 years apart, at some point in time we were all kind of at the same stage in life during our younger years. Therefore, our interests and needs were very similar and overall our ability to play together and find things to do with one another was fairly effortless. Yes, I’m sure we squabbled here and there, but we really only saw one another as playmates, rather than seeing each other for our differences personality and opinion wise. We didn’t have completely developed interests or ideas in the same way we do now, so we only sought out the things we had in common. My brothers and I had all of these little make-believe games with characters, plots, and (always changing) rules. Those were our go to games at the end of the day, and still are if we want something to do all together. We can take out the complicated parts of growing up together and just go back to when we were little and there was generally an even playing field (literally and figuratively).
I think you’re right about age being a big thing. I have a twin sister and for most of our life we’ve been really close. Conversely, my brother is four years older than me. I think (although I don’t remember super well) that my brother and I got along pretty well when we were little. Probably the age difference didn’t feel so big. So all three of us were likely pretty close when we were in elementary school (or before). I’m sure my brother got frustrated by us, but I think we played together happily.
At some point, maybe halfway through elementary school, we started to kind of shift into our own person, developing new thoughts and ideas and needs. During this time when you are so young, you may not even realize that your relationship is changing and you usually don’t have the awareness or desire to separate yourself from what you’re experiencing to connect with your siblings. Because we were still young and all going to the same school AND sharing most of the same extracurriculars, I at least kind of saw this as us spending time together. We were still in such close quarters and that need for connecting with each other and getting to know each other was kind of fulfilled through that. We were starting to become so different, but we were still sharing so many of the same experiences, friends, and physical things, and I think that’s where most of our arguments and disagreements sprouted from.
I had a similar experience with my sister. From around 9 to 13 or 14 we were both wanting to be seen as separate and differentiate from each other, and it made us fight a lot. We didn’t want to do many of the same things, but we didn’t always agree on what those things were.
When I was more like 7 or something my brother and I started getting along a lot less well. I think we were in really different stages of growing up and because we’re actually extraordinarily similar, so we really knew how to get at each other. We would fight all the time and he definitely used his “older brother power” to bug me. But at the same time, I used the power of having a sister who was pretty much always on my side.
This middle stage kind of went on for a good amount of time and then within these past few years, there’s been a bit of a shift. As we’ve gotten older, because our interests and everything else have changed so drastically from what they were before and from each other’s (definitely due to age and also possibly gender), we spend the majority of our days apart. We’re all at different schools, pursuing different paths of education etc. and our journeys are kind of completely separate. Obviously I still see my brothers at the end of the day, but because we don’t see one another all day long, the time we do have together is very valuable and usually well spent. Whether we’re playing a card game, talking about our days, or just joking around, I feel more as if I am catching up with a close friend, rather than spending time with someone just because we are related. I am definitely closer to or can at least find more to relate on with my middle brother, as we are both in our teen years and going through somewhat similar experiences at points. I definitely feel like in no time my youngest brother will reach this point, too and there won’t be so much of a difference experience and knowledge wise in our interactions and conversations.
It’s really interesting how, even though we have really different sibling age difference and everything, we’ve had extremely similar experiences. In the past few years, I’ve gotten a lot closer to both of my siblings. I think my brother and I don’t feel our age gap as much any more, and my sister and I have differentiated from each other plenty and are enough our completely own people to happily be close.
It’s really fun and amazing to see how much my relationship with my siblings has changed through the years and even more exciting to think about what we’ll all be doing on our own in a few years and how that’ll effect our relationship then. Though I may “fight” with my siblings or disagree a lot of the time, it’d be even stranger to think about not having them in my life and I’m extremely thankful for the friendship we have developed.