Sibling Rivalry?

Yesterday, while watching the Today Show I saw Tara Parker Pope, a blogger for the New York Times, and a psychologist talk about family dynamics and sibling rivalry. Parker’s post and the following comments forced me to think about the dynamics between my siblings and myself.  While I’m not exactly the best of friends with either my older brother or my younger sister, we have moments when we laugh together and moments when we can’t get agree on anything. Still, I can’t imagine not having some kind of relationship with them in our adult lives. A lot of the comments to Parker’s post continue as adults to have horrible relationships with their siblings based on (sometimes horrific) experiences as children. What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Sibling Rivalry?

  1. see this post by Tara Parker Pope as well

  2. Compared to a lot of the vengeful stories shared in the video of interviews, I think my older sister and I had pretty playful fights. Of course, since she’s four years older than me, there was sometimes a bit of disconnect, like the day when she decided she was too old for our pretend cat game, and brandished her recorder at me until I left her alone. I know I had a lot of trouble with the notion of her keeping her door closed. The necessity of teenage privacy was alien to me; I felt personally shut out and rejected. The meanest thing I can remember doing was hiding her hairbrush under her pillow- I don’t even recall why- it was probably to make her pay more attention to me. I suppose I wasn’t very mean. As for the meanest thing she ever did to me- well, that became quite an elaborate game which she called “The Room of Doom.” When she wanted to frighten me, she would creep up ominously and say, “it’s time for…the room of doom!” and would either shove me under her desk and block it off with something, or shove me in the shower and leave me there with the bathroom door closed behind her. I was always too frightened to leave on my own, I thought I was locked in. Looking back, these silly ways that she teased me seem hilarious, though I do think I was rather frightened at the time.

    Aside from our silly spats, we always had a strong connection and a good relationship. It seemed so unfair, therefore, that she departed for college just as I was entering high school. Today, we’re close, and we’re also friends, but it’s strange to think that we haven’t actually lived together since I was in 8th grade. In some ways, because of that, I feel like an only child: when I come home for vacations and the summer, she’s still away at grad school. Being the younger sibling definitely has its challenges. We tend to look up to our older sibling with admiration and love, and yet we’re the ones who get abandoned for some of the most important years of growing up. Now, as my sister and I grow in different environments and different directions, I call often to stay in touch and stay close; she is still my sister, and always will be. I hope that someday we’ll live near each other, for though it’s been a while since we lived in the same house, it never quite feels right to be apart.

    What kinds relationships do you have with your siblings, and how do you maintain them while away at school? Are things very different than when you all lived at home?

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