My older brother Chris celebrates a birthday this week. Most of the advice I found about brothers and sisters was about sibling rivalry, which we don’t have at all (except that my website is so much better than his, don’t you think?) but I did track down this little blurb about trying getting along with younger and older siblings. It’s from Florence Reiff’s book Step in Home Living. Coincidentally, this was a few years after Chris was born, and a year before he kicked the mail carrier, for some odd reason, the day I was brought home from the hospital. Happy Birthday, Chris!
1966: Brothers and Sisters
Getting along with younger brothers and sisters is sometimes a problem for teenagers. Have you ever thought about why this is so? When a three-year-old opens a drawer and takes something that belongs to you, or when he writes in your notebook, he does not do it to be mean. He does it because he admires you and wants to be grown-up, too! When an eight-year-old follows you wherever you go, he does so because he wants to be included in your activities. Younger children want attention and like to feel that they are a part of the family. They look up to the ones who are older; that is why the way you act toward them is important. When you understand this, it is easier for you to be patient with them. You will enjoy them much more.
Now, look at another problem that might arise in the family. How do you get along with your older brothers and sisters? Do you ever borrow a sweater without asking? Do you want to stay up as late as your older brother? Do you get angry if you are not allowed to go out as often as he does? If you answer ‘Yes’ to the last three questions, you can see that you want the same privileges as older family members because you think it is better to be a grown-up. In a way, you are acting almost the same way as your younger brothers and sisters!
How do we solve problems like this? We have talked about the importance of understanding. When you understand that little folks admire you and want your attention, you might plan to do some special thing with them each day. It might be that you could spare a few minutes to play a game, tell a story, or just talk about what the child has been doing. In the case of older brothers and sisters, you also need to practice understanding by realizing that as you grow older you will gain more privileges. You will also lose the fun of not having so much responsibility! You can help the problem by cooperating with older family members rather than annoying them.
Learning to get along with the people in your family helps you to get along with the other people in your life. Getting along with others helps to make you happy.
Source: Reiff, Florence M. Steps in Home Living. Peoria, Ill.: Chas. A. Bennett Co., 1966.
~ pp. 36-38 ~