Older vs. Younger Siblings

Meaghan O'Brien
Meaghan O'Brien is the youngest of four siblings. From left to right: Courtney O'Brien, Caitlin O'Brien, Meaghan O'Brien, and Colleen O'Brien.

The Life of Siblings:
Conflicts and Rewards
People who have siblings know that it’s not always a walk in the park. Older, middle, and younger siblings all face their own struggles and rewards.

Kamryn Hopewell, a senior at Padua, is the oldest of 5 siblings. Hopewell shares the tough parts of being an older sibling. “A struggle that comes with being the oldest is that you experience everything first, so by the time your sibling or siblings do it, they can just ease on through because you’ve already done it so they know how it works,” said Hopewell. “I feel like with my youngest siblings, my parents aren’t as strict as they were when I was that age.”

Although there are many struggles, there are also many pros to being an older sibling, which Hopewell acknowledges. “I think that an advantage of being the oldest is that no one can really tell me what to do because they’re all younger than me,” Hopewell said.

“Something I don’t like is how older siblings got the reputation of being ‘mean’ or ‘bossy’…not every person who is an older sibling is like that, so I don’t think it should be something to describe every older sibling,” said Hopewell after debunking common stereotypes about being an older sibling.

Meaghan O’Brien, a senior at Padua, sees a very different perspective. As the youngest of four, O’Brien said, “Being the youngest means that you have people to look up to, to blame stuff on, to help you with any school assignment, and lifelong best friends.”

Along with the free advice and role models, younger siblings have their struggles. “As the youngest, my parents are constantly comparing me to my sisters. People also mess up my name, a lot. My sisters always get the front seat during long car rides and get the aux cord.”

O’Brien also relates to other people with older siblings who go through the same struggle. “My friend, Nicole, is constantly saying how her sister takes her stuff all the time and I relate so much! My sisters are always borrowing my things, but when I ask to borrow something they tell me no,” she said.

Maggie Dechant, a sophomore at Padua, is the middle sibling, in between her older sister and younger brother. As a middle sibling, Dechant has the opportunity to relate with both of her siblings. As a younger sibling, she can look up to her older sister. And as an older sibling, Dechant can serve as a guide for her younger sibling. “I’m close with both of my siblings,” Dechant said. “Being a middle child, I have more responsibilities, especially with my younger brother.”

Although there are these perks, sometimes there are downsides to being a middle sibling. “Sometimes my parents focus more on my other siblings, but then I can just do my own thing,” Dechant said.

Every sibling is unique in their own way. Whether a wise older sibling, an independent middle sibling, or a goofy younger sibling, siblings do love each other in the end, despite the occasional fighting over borrowing clothes or who gets the front seat in the car.