A Sibling Study: Older v Younger

Parental Treatment of Siblings: the Younger Sister’s Perspective


Heather Jacobson, Reporter

Every morning, I wake up to my sister opening my bedroom door and grunting, “Get up, we’re going to be late because of you.” I have yet to ever set an alarm for myself in my 16 years here on Earth. Instead, I have my very own built in alarm in the form of my older sister, Rachel.

Our days, though similarly planned, have very different executions. In many ways, it seems that me being a younger sibling makes my life easier. This is evident through the differences in my parents’ treatment between me and my sibling.

There seems to be a lack of faith in the younger sibling. Often, responsibilities around the house and in school fall under the wing of my older sister. In one instance, when my sister and I were going to spend the day in San Francisco, my dad gave her some money and said, very matter of factly, “Make sure Heather always has at least $20 in her pocket, just in case. You know, because she’s Heather.” Although it’s always nice to have a mobile purse with me, sometimes it hurts that they don’t always trust me.


Not only does their confidence in me lack, but their stress about school relaxes as well. Whenever I struggle in one subject or another their response is the same: “Can’t Rachel help you?” They never consider that I may be taking a class she has not because they think that she will still somehow know what is going on. In some ways, they expect that I will not do quite as well as her. The younger sibling is able to be relieved of some expectations which are given to their siblings.


Not all is easy for the younger sibling. Parents do expect that the younger child follow the footsteps of the older. The accomplishments of each child are compared, and the younger is often told to play catch up. When one child excels in science or sports the other is expected to do the same.

This stress resounds with almost all younger siblings who feel such pressure. The younger one can feel lost amidst this. It is important for the younger to find something they love and something to harbor their originality, but it is hard to do so when your life is already planned out according to an older model.


Having a sibling is wonderful in so many ways. It is so helpful to have someone who understands you as well as they do, and is able to support you at all times. My sister is my best teacher, friend and even the best mother figure in my life. I would be lost without her, probably because I fell asleep somewhere and she was not there to wake me up.