- This is in answer to:
- How would your life be different if you had grown up without any siblings? See all answers
- August 8, 2011 by karenm
- If I Had Grown Up With/Without Siblings
I was the eldest child in my family and I had two younger brothers. One whom I adored and one who was my strongest competitor and enemy most of the time. I could honestly say that my parents created the competition and sibling rivalry between the two of us. We were not quite 2 years apart in age and my youngest brother was about 5 1/2 years younger than I.
The sibling rivalry was stirred in every event of life. I was not allowed to get a bike or even learn to ride a bike until my closest brother was old enough to learn. Every event in life seemed to have this edge. As a teenager, I was not allowed to drive by myself, until he could drive us. I was a much better driver. And the saga continued. We even were married less than a month apart. We went to our first movie the same day. Yet, if he did something wrong, I was blamed for it because "I should know better than to have let him do it" or that I should have let someone know if he was doing wrong. I was in just as much trouble as if I had done the deed. Everything we did was compared, and I was usually on the loosing end. I think I would have felt much better about my childhood and being the eldest child had I not had to deal with this type of continual rivalry.
My youngest brother was my pride and joy. We played great together, laughed together and ocassionally ganged up on the middle child. We had a bond that was difficult to sever. If we disagreed, we could solve our own problems.
Today, I still am not close to my middle brother and he lives not far away. He has never visited my house and we maintain contact only because our mom tries to force that issue. My younger brother lives a very long distance away and I seldom am able to see him, yet when I do, we can immediately pick up where we left off. We call each other and definitely enjoy each others families. I can never remember a time when we didn't get along!
When my children were born, I swore I would do nothing to compare them and pit them against each other. They are now the best of friends. Growing up, there was only about 4 months of sibling rivalry and the intensity of it was quite mild. That was one issue I really didn't have to deal with as a parent. I was so thrilled.
Through this, I learned that we can teach children that they are different than each other and that they each have different strengths and weaknesses. They learned to ask each other for help in the areas where they were weak and willingly gave in their strengths. They would do anything for each other and they now live on two different continents and maintain continual communication. I believe my negative experience compared with my positive experience with my siblings made me a better parent.