Family Life

Why Siblings sometimes Disagree about their Experiences Growing up in the same Family



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Growing up as siblings in the same family can offer different perspectives on how life was in that family. Siblings vary in ages, and parents gain experience with each new addition to the family. What was “normal” for one sibling may be very out of the ordinary for another. Birth order can have a huge impact, not only on how children are treated in the family unit, but also on a child's perspective of the family and their role in it. Additionally, brothers and sisters will typically perceive their childhoods quite differently. With these considerations, it's no wonder siblings will sometimes disagree about their experiences growing up in the same family.

It's the same old battle as it was growing up. You feel that your brother or sister got all of the attention while you got little or none. Oddly, your brother or sister feels that you got all of the attention and that they were the one who was overlooked. How can it be that two people remember things so very differently?

Questions to take into consideration for this answer include the following: How far apart are you and your brother or sister in age? Which one of you is older? Were there other children born after each of you, so that you stopped being the “baby” of the family. Which gender are you?

Age can make a huge difference in how siblings perceive their childhoods. Older siblings often feel the younger siblings got everything they wanted while younger siblings may feel that the older ones were always able to do whatever they wished. First-born children grow up with only the parents to tell them what to do. Younger children have older siblings, along with the parents, to “boss them around.” This can cause significant resentment. It's no wonder sibling rivalry is alive and often lives long into adulthood.

Additionally, parents gain experience with each child born. Experience that can often change how the parents treat each individual child throughout their life. First born children are the “guinea pigs” of the family, testing the waters and learning the ropes, while parents are wondering if they're doing it all the right way. The tendency is for new parents to be overly protective or strict with their first born. By the time the youngest child comes along parents tend to be more mellow and tolerant. Plus, if the youngest child is observant they can learn from the older child's mistakes and not make the same ones.

We all have unique personalities and vary in temperament. This will give each a different perspective on situations and relationships. Highly analytical people often focus on the importance of structure and keeping rules. More impetuous types will have a strong preference for fun, originality and spontaneity. Those with a strongly dominant bent will feel driven to “win” or have their own way. Children who have a felt need for peace and harmony will usually do whatever it takes to “just get along.” These differences will greatly color how an individual perceives and remembers family relationships.

Male children are often brought up differently than female children. They may not learn the same tasks as their sisters and they may not be given chores that used to be reserved for only a specific gender. This isn't so much the case in today's modern family, but even as little as twenty years ago these roles were usually adhered to very strictly.

All of these factors contribute to shaping siblings views of family life, sometimes to such a degree that it is hard to believe they grew up in the same family.

 

More about this author: Linda L Kinyon

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