Sibling stressors


The Chung siblings having a blast while trying to fit all three of them on one rocking horse.

Kana Chung, Staff reporter

Brothers and Sisters are great, but sometimes they aren’t so great. Having a sibling can be both a negative and a positive thing that affects students in their academic and home life. Siblings often come with pressure to perform well, which can be both a source of both eustress and destress.

According to about eighty percent of Americans have either a brother or sister. And in all actuality, children nowadays are more likely to grow up with a sibling than a father.

Depending on the number of siblings you have, your responsibilities will vary. Our society says that the oldest is meant to be a prime example of what is expected of their younger counterparts. Additionally, the younger siblings are pressured to match, or even exceed, the precedent set by their seniors.

I, myself, am the oldest of three. A younger sister after me, and an even younger brother after her. Each two years younger than the previous. This means that I had nearly lived a full two years of life alone with my parents; then, my sister came into the picture.

Normally, this is the point where the well-known stereotype of “the older sibling resenting the younger sibling for taking away the parents’ affection” usually comes into play, but I never remember feeling that way. On the contrary, I gave both of my siblings all of my attention as well. I became almost like a second mother to them. Whenever our mother would scold them, they would come running to me for comfort. Back then, I felt like I could protect them. But as I grow older, I find that I am able to do that less and less.

It was not until around the the fifth grade that I recognized these feelings. My siblings were growing bigger by the day, and I seemed to be at a standstill. I had felt surpassed by my siblings before; however, only at this point had I thought deeper into the subject and realized why.

I used to be the one that was bigger and more knowledgeable than they were. I could reach things for them, lift things for them, show them how to perform certain tasks, and protect them from most things. But by the time I had reached the fifth grade, my younger sister had surpassed me in height. My brother is predicted to do the same within the next few years. That is not to say that size has anything to do with capability, but it was definitely something that I was not used to. It made me feel small (both figuratively and literally).

Both siblings are naturally thin and athletic, taking after my father. My brother loves running around, doing parkour, and climbing trees. My sister is a skilled soccer player who plays on a premier team, and recently made it to state for cross country.

And as they grew physically, they also grew mentally. Before I knew it, both of my siblings were being admitted into spectra, a program for gifted children. Spectra was something I had been tested for multiple times, but I was never able to make the cut. This was yet another chip off of the pedestal I had come to known, being the oldest sibling. This was one of the major events that sent my confidence on a decline.

Not only were my siblings physically and academically talented, they were gifted in liberal arts. My brother with a natural rhythm who instinctively picked up the violin, soon venturing to the drums. He could pick up songs that my sister and I played, just by watching us and listening. Also, my sister who took up piano, then moved on to viola, before finally settling on the baritone. My brother is an adept artists who enjoys drawing dragons, three dimensional words and objects, and things he sees in everyday life. My sister shares this talent, drawing realistic and cartoon-like pieces, although she has less of a passion for it.

The feeling of being less than what you think you should be is not favorable. In fact, it is quite unpleasant. It causes a lack of confidence, which ultimately leads to a lack of drive, resulting in lower performance in a wide variety activities. On the flip side of things, this can serve as great motivation. Whenever I feel unmotivated, I ask myself, “What would I want my siblings to do? Is this an example I want to set for them?” On many occasions, this kind of thinking leads me to make better life choices and encourages me to do my best in everything I attempt.

Up until this point, a good majority of this article has expressed how shadowed I have felt by the achievements of my siblings, but that’s not to say that I’m not incredibly proud of the fine young people they have become. They are talented in so many ways, and I cannot wait to see what they will contribute to this world. As implied, it has not been all bad. I could never even begin to count the number of good memories we have had. All of the times we have picked each other up when we are down. The number of nights we have spent cracking jokes and laughing our heads off. The bond that we have built is one that could never be replaced, and the memories we have shared are priceless.

You and your siblings may not always get along; you may feel pressured to be perfect to make your older sibling proud, or to set an example for your younger siblings; you may wish that you didn’t always have to share your things or accommodate to their needs instead of yours. But at the end of the day, they are your family. You can always count on them to be there when you need them most. There’s a bond between siblings that cannot be replicated.

It may not be the best relationship, and it may make you feel pressured at times, but each one is worthwhile.”

— Kana Chung, Staff reporter

I guess what I am trying to say is that each sibling bond is different. It may not be the best relationship, and it may make you feel pressured at times, but each one is worthwhile. Be sure to appreciate your siblings for what they are. Maybe you have come to realize that you need to be a better sibling. There is nothing wrong with showing the people close to you that you care.

This is only my story and my perspective, but it is often the case for many households. Not only in academics, but in all aspects of life. Siblings, both younger and older, are constantly being compared to one another and being held accountable when they do not meet expectations.

There are many aspects of life that hold high standards, and the factor of siblings adds many more obstacles onto the already lengthy list. So keep these stressors in mind, and show a little love to your siblings. They are struggling just as much as you are.