No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by mingmong on Jul 21, 2018 11:32:32 PM
Being a younger or older sibling, and its effect in later life

I'm the younger of two, and I was struck today by realising that of my close friendship-group from school etc, all of the individuals in that group are younger/youngest siblings.

OTOH, Mrs Ming is the oldest of 3. Several of my exs have also been older siblings.

Does being a younger (or older) sibling make you a certain sort of person, and affect your relationships with others according to their sibling position?

tasselhoff - 21 Jul 2018 23:39:34 (#1 of 30)

Being the middle child of three, I find that as I get older my sister stays older than me and my brother stays younger. I'm not sure if this will always be the way, as it's merely empirical evidence I've gleaned over time.

tasselhoff - 21 Jul 2018 23:40:22 (#2 of 30)


Pentecost - 21 Jul 2018 23:43:17 (#3 of 30)

I'm younger. Made a difference schooldays but once you make your own careers there's nothing in it. He is he and I am I.

mingmong - 21 Jul 2018 23:46:43 (#4 of 30)

Any sibling-order trends in your friendship groups, Penters?

My experience may well just be a freak of demographics. Quite a lot of families seem to have started in the late 60s with the younger kids being born in the early 70s (as I was)

tasselhoff - 21 Jul 2018 23:50:47 (#5 of 30)

My wife was also the 2nd child, fwiw

Pentecost - 21 Jul 2018 23:55:46 (#6 of 30)

Any sibling-order trends in your friendship groups

Basically the concepts of "friendship groups" and "trends" (other than statistical) hit my Aspie buttons. People are what they are and their relationships are not something I even know.

mingmong - 21 Jul 2018 23:58:45 (#7 of 30)


AdrianNTierney - 22 Jul 2018 00:02:33 (#8 of 30)

I rather suspect that ming's 'evidence' is of the same order as declaring that five throws of heads (of a coin) out of seven is the natural order of things. And will always proceed in identical order.

mingmong - 22 Jul 2018 00:10:28 (#9 of 30)

You may well be right ANT. But I wonder what other people's experiences are. If you are right, there should be no discernable effect.

AdrianNTierney - 22 Jul 2018 00:17:22 (#10 of 30)

I'm the eldest in my birth family, my wife was the fourth of four sisters. She always claimed that the advantage was hers.

Who am I to claim other?

mingmong - 22 Jul 2018 00:21:10 (#11 of 30)

I wouldn't claim benefits either way with any certainty, ANT. I would imagine that the eldest often gets the best maternal love (mum being a bit more knackered and jaded by the time the second+ kid turns up), but the younger sib gets the benefit of the older sibs as supplementary parent figures or elder peers

Every case is different though, obvs

AdrianNTierney - 22 Jul 2018 00:34:31 (#12 of 30)

I have asked my younger sister this selfsame question. She insists that I was The Prince, and she was given the leftovers. I've pointed out a few exceptions to that 'rule'.

She demurred.

mingmong - 22 Jul 2018 00:39:50 (#13 of 30)

When I had those kind of conversations with older bro (in adulthood), he was also adamant that I flouted the rules and got away with it more than he did, while it was my view that he and my parents formed a kind of finger-wagging establishment, which I habitually found myself on the wrong side of. That is one of my abiding impressions of childhood.

I suspect, with mature hindsight, I was just a bit of an obnoxious brat, but not very artful about it. Bro Ming used to collude in some of my rebellions, but was clever/mature enough to do it discreetly and subtly, so would consequently come up smelling of roses while I copped the blame.

widenation - 22 Jul 2018 01:12:35 (#14 of 30)

Intersting topic but (middle child 2 bros) I don't think there's anything in it. Only thing I've noticed is that single children like to talk about what they are/have been up to and into. A lot. Couple this with their lycra brigade cycling shit and you have one very tedious work collegue to endure.

RosyLovelady - 22 Jul 2018 08:05:13 (#15 of 30)

A friend of mine is the middle one of three. He has an older brother (who can do no wrong, but that's another story) and it seems his parents had confidently expected that my chum would be a girl and so they gave him an androgynous name when he let them down. Luckily for one and all the next child was a girl, or their mother would presumably have had to go on producing until she got it right.

BlueBoy - 22 Jul 2018 08:07:41 (#16 of 30)

I am the baby of the trio , but with the other two being girls I had to learn to protect them from boys several years older than me.My father died when I was a child so I was brought up by women. It taught me to respect and admire women as well as be baffled by them.I was glad in so many ways that so much of my outlook was moulded by my Mam and my two sisters. Though I would have loved to have had a brother.

Shadrack22 - 22 Jul 2018 08:08:51 (#17 of 30)

Youngest of four. There is an eleven year gap between me and my sister (the third child). So siblings who were from an older generation and who act as surrogate parents. You end up with cultural references from previous decades, hence perhaps the tendency to nostalgia and the past.

RosyLovelady - 22 Jul 2018 08:16:09 (#18 of 30)

I'm an only child and naturally I got the blame for everything, but I've noticed that in larger families there's sometimes one child who's singled out to take all the blame, for no apparent reason except that (s)he always has been that one.

I wonder if it's a struggle for parents not to do this sort of thing because some seem to manage it perfectly well.

tasselhoff - 22 Jul 2018 08:18:23 (#19 of 30)

My older sister got all the flack and I was perceived as an angel. I didn't even notice this until my early teens.

surferboogiewhatever - 22 Jul 2018 08:33:06 (#20 of 30)

I'm the older of 2 and I have 2 children myself. On that very small sample I would expect an older child to be more academic, but less confident and sociable than a younger child, possibly (definitely, in my children's case) because their parents would have been more relaxed when bringing up the younger one. But it's also possible that my older child and I are just natural introverts for no particular reason. The other person who's very similar to both of us in many ways is my dad, and he's the youngest of 3 (but with quite a big age gap so he might have been treated almost like an only child).

My husband is an only child, and the only characteristic I've noticed in him that seems to me to be a consequence of that is that he always seemed to like to consult his parents about everything well into middle age. He didn't always follow their suggestions, but he seemed to think it was right and natural that they should always have a say. I wouldn't say he was spoilt exactly, though his parents always gave him a lot of money and material things. He's got quite a gentle, unassuming sort of personality. My mum is also an only child (well, strictly speaking she's what would nowadays be called a rainbow baby), and she was anything but spoilt. Her dad died when she was young and her mum never seems to have done anything but put her down, which left her very meek and apologetic.

I think my friends are from a variety of birth orders, but there's one particular man in our circle, the quietish older brother of a complete party animal, who feels a bit like a kindred spirit. We don't even know each other all that well, but we sometimes find ourselves relatively sober and talking in a quiet corner while his brother and other friends are cavorting about like nobody's business. We have acknowledged that we are "life's older siblings."

Check Subscriptions
Home » Family