Younger brothers, sisters: Frustrating or friends?

Has this ever happened to you? You just finished cleaning up your mess in the living room. You settle on the couch and are about to watch TV, but your parents come in and ask you to help clean your little brother or sister's mess.

Well, your favorite show is on. What should you do? Being older than my brother, I'd be able to help him pick up the pace if I helped him, and I know he would really appreciate it. So what is a few minutes? Besides, I'll probably only miss the theme song.

What is it like to be an older sibling? Well, you are watched more carefully because you have to be the good example; you have to let your little brother or sister hang out with you and your friends; and sometimes you even get blamed for things they did because you're older. But does anyone think about how much responsibility that puts on us older brothers or sisters?

I have a younger brother who's almost 11, and is going to be in fifth grade. He's 3 years and 4 months younger than me. When I have a friend over, he gets to hang out with us so he won't be lonely. Well, the first thing that pops into people's minds is, "That's not fair."

I try to look at it this way: His friend will be here in a few minutes, and my friend and I will most likely run out of things to say, so why not kill a few minutes? But most of all, I cannot bear the fact that I might hurt his feelings.

"When younger brothers or sisters get to hang out with their older siblings, they feel like they're loved, and it makes them feel included," said my brother, Jacob. "Usually, younger siblings look up to older siblings so when they're included, they feel like their brother or sister really loves them."

Not only do your parents want you to work together with your siblings, but they also expect you to get along with them. Have you ever gotten into trouble because you were fighting with your brother or sister and got blamed for the whole argument? Well, that is partially because you are older and should know better. And you should.

You see, I think the problem with us older kids is that we never put ourselves into our younger siblings' shoes. We never truly know how they are feeling. My brother and I have a great relationship with each other because we communicate. You cannot have a good relationship with anyone unless you actually spend time talking with them. Since my brother and I communicate (like you saw in the last paragraph), I know how he feels and by knowing that, I am able to change the ways I act if they make him feel uncomfortable.

I like to think of my brother and me as being a team. Together, sometimes, we can even make a case to get our parents to change their minds about something. Now that's teamwork.

I really do love my brother very much, and know that I would miss him if he wasn't here. Now, by reading this, all you younger siblings shouldn't ever try to take advantage of your older brothers or sisters because remember, we have feelings, too. But maybe we all can have better relationships if we can just start talking to each other like we both are real people with real feelings because guess what? We are.

n Christina Connell will be a freshman at Carson High School this fall. She will be writing a column once a month for the Whatever page.


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