Older siblings have pros, cons

Monday , April 29, 2013 - 8:39 AM

Nathan Beeston

Having older siblings can mean a lot of things. For instance, if you take the phrase “tickle torture” a lot more seriously than your peers with younger siblings, you just might have older siblings.

Older siblings can affect how you grow up —everything from what activities you did together to what memories you might have. And, of course, there’s always the infamous question: “Hey, are you so-and-so’s little brother/sister?!”

Some Top of Utah teens weighed in on the joys and perils of having older brothers or sisters.

• Older siblings are our friends.

One Weber High School senior is very happy with her family, which includes older brothers and sisters.

“I love having older siblings! It’s so much fun to have those older brothers that can take care of you (and take care of the people that are mean to you!),” says Krystal Ruiz. “And to have that older sister who is always there to listen. Being the youngest has changed me because I’ve grown more mature. That might sound weird, but because my siblings are so much older than me, I’ve grown up faster.”

Ruiz adds, “My favorite part about having brothers is being a bit tomboy-ish. My oldest brother and I always get in little loving fights where we wrestle and have fun. And my second oldest brother is the one who always told me to do the things I loved, and to not let people tell me that I wasn’t good enough.”

“My older and only sister is my best friend, and we do everything together. People complain a lot about being the youngest, but I absolutely love it because I have siblings that I can look up to, and who can share their experiences with me.”

Greg Hoffmann, ajunior at Syracuse High, enjoys having older brothers.

“You always have someone to hang out with and they always have something that you can do with them,” he says.

Makenzie Matthews of Syracuse High has many older siblings.

“It’s nice because you can know what they did to get through things like school. You can learn from what they did,” the junior says.

Junior Callie Ricks knows sibling relationships from both sides.

“Since I’m the middle child, I’m also an older sibling,” says the Clearfield High student. “So I guess from the perspective of a middle child, it’s nice having an older sibling because they are someone to talk to and someone who will always have your back.

“Also, being an older sibling it’s fun, because even though I tease my younger brother, and I rarely show my feelings towards him, I do have the role of being his big sister. So if someone messes with him who isn’t me, they have to deal with me. “

• Older siblings like to tease us.

Big brothers and sisters can always be our friends, but that doesn’t change the fact that they love to tease younger siblings. Older siblings often come up with mean nicknames or bring up embarrassing stories about us. Or when we were little, they liked to scare us!

Jeff Reed, a Syracuse High junior, says that as a little kid, and the youngest, he was teased in a very bizarre fashion.

“My sister and brother used to scare me with this freaking pig-demon mask and ambush me around the corner of the hallway, and then they would terrorize me all around the house while I was screaming my head off,” he says.

Matthews says, “I used to have a really weak stomach, so my siblings used to do stuff to gross me out and make me gag.”

The best thing about older siblings is that they are the people who accept you the most, Ricks says. The worst thing is “an older sibling usually screws things up for you.”

• Older siblings move out of the house.

With older siblings leaving home for various reasons such as college, military or church missions, what do we do to say goodbye?

“Spend a lot of time doing activities that you both like to do!” Hoffmann says. “My brothers and I played video games before they left.”

As a younger sibling myself, my family chose a board game we liked, Settlers of Catan, and we played countless games of it in the evenings in the few weeks before my older brother left on his mission. Or before my sister left, we watched a lot of Disney movies and we cooked desserts together.

Doing these types of things will bring you closer together and you will have good memories after your older sibs are gone.

• Absent older siblings leave pros and cons.

Depending on your viewpoint, there are both pros and cons about older siblings leaving the house.

“I now have to do all the chores and tasks around the house,” says Reed. “My mom used to divvy up the chores, but now I do it all!”

On the other hand, he says he doesn’t have to take turns on games anymore, but “unfortunately, I can’t play multiplayer games.”

“It’s less busy, so you get some more time that you might need,” says Matthews. But the bad thing is “you hardly ever see them anymore, so you have to choose to go see them, or stay home; you can’t do both anymore.”

If siblings are far away and long-distance communication is the only option, make sure to keep in contact and still talk about what’s going on at home, through phone calls or emails.

Or, as Matthews says, “I talk to them on Facebook a lot. I talk about movies, books, and share opinions.”

Nathan Beeston is a junior at Syracuse High School. He loves swim team, writing and life guarding, and is always up for making new friends. Contact him at bcbeeston@comcast.net.

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