UNITED STATES—Ok, this column might not apply to all people, but for those with a sibling this is a column that will totally connect with you. I’m a believer the more siblings you have the more drama that is certain to be evident in the mix. For many baby boomers, there is a likely chance that their parents had multiple children as adults. I mean how ironic is it that both of my grandparents on my mother’s side and father’s side each had 8 children. In my case, there is a total of 6 of us including myself. This week, we had a bit of a family gathering where I saw some relatives (and let’s be honest), that I haven’t seen in quite some time.
What I witnessed is a bit of sibling rivalry between my father and his siblings. The older siblings tend to want to out-talk and ensure their authority is showcased. I mean even if the siblings are only a year or two apart, the older sibling will make it crystal clear that their argument is a bit more effective than others.
I mean my father is the baby of the group, yet he might be the most boisterous and bold of the bunch. He might be younger, but he makes sure his point is heard by the others. I mean he and my aunt had a bit of a squabble, yet my uncle and other aunt who are both older, sat back and watched the ‘drama’ unfold. I kind of wanted to ask them, why didn’t you two speak up? I mean they were discussing a topic that was of importance in my opinion related to my grandparents.
However, they did not, and perhaps because they’re slightly older, they are a bit more reserved or don’t feel the need to prove their authority to their siblings. Just because you can talk doesn’t mean you always have to talk. Looking at their generation and my generation there are differences. My sister is the oldest of the bunch, but I can’t recall a moment were she took control of the situation because she thought her age mattered more than the others.
Yes, we’ve had arguments, yes, we’ve disagreed on heated topics, but I can’t recall a moment where one of us felt less than the other based on our age. It’s an interesting tidbit and something I think worth further examining people. Now arguments can be made that gender might play a role in the older sibling going after the younger sibling, and you can go into the dynamics of rather the oldest child being a male vs. a female and how the younger child being a male or female impacts how they interact with each other. The male wants to show authority, but at the same time the female wants to wield authority.
The argument should also be made that when an audience is present, the younger or older sibling is more inclined to make it be known who the boss is and who the boss isn’t. Yes, rarely will you see my father and aunt in an argument, especially when it’s just the two of them in the room. However, when you add the presence of 2-3 more siblings that totally changes the situation in my personal opinion. I have seen this happen with me and my siblings when there are more people in the room. You have to get your point across, and the more people that hear what you have to say the more impactful your argument becomes to the other siblings.
Be warned this is not about fueling an argument people. It is about analyzing why siblings behave a certain way based on age, gender and other parties involved in specific situations. The older sibling is always expected to be respected because they are like the guard dog to the younger sibling. However, I’m seeing over time, sometimes it’s the younger sibling who earns a bit more respect because they’re not afraid to speak their mind and to stand up for the siblings who might not have the backbone that they have.