Having a sibling, especially a smaller one, is not easy. My sister was almost 7 years younger than me, which should mean that we had different interests and different things we liked to do. In my friend group, I was the last to receive a sibling, so I’d heard all the stories. How annoying a sibling is, how siblings often fought, how my friend’s little brother or sister destroyed something of his. Maybe since I was so much older, and soooo mature, not much of this happened, though she still destroyed my stuff occasionally and was still bothersome at times. But I noticed a very different that my sister had. She tended to copy my interests, and my likes. I wasn’t too sure of this until I ran an experiment on this. I told her that I liked chocolate ice cream, and sure enough, when I asked her some time later what her favorite ice cream flavor was, she said chocolate. This could have been a fluke, since we usually ate chocolate ice cream anyways, so I tried it again. I told her my favorite color was purple, and sure enough, she said purple next time I asked what her favorite color was. This confirmed my worst fear: my sister did indeed copy me.
This, however, I could take advantage of. I realized that if she liked what I liked, then I could manipulate her into getting what I wanted. If there were two candies left, watermelon and strawberry flavoured, I could say, “I love strawberry!” and she would take the strawberry, leaving me with the watermelon flavored one that I had desired. If I wanted the blue umbrella and not the red one, I could say that my favorite color is red, and she would agree and take the red one. At 10 years old, I was already a psychologist. When I had to split two things with my sister, I almost always ended up with the one I prefered. You could say that I was being too selfish, or that wasn’t a good thing to do, but in my eyes I got what I wanted and she got what she thought she wanted so no harm done.
When my sister was born, my mother started to suddenly get more strict than usual to me. I thought it was just since I was growing up and needed to conduct myself better, but no. My mom knew the effects of an older brother, she has had one as well. From that moment on I was forced to start to fix my ways. It’s definitely hard to teach a 7 year old how to conduct himself, so I learned rather slowly. I don’t remember if my mom ever told me why this was happening, only the realization that my messy self had to be fixed. I remember being fuming inside as I began to set tables, pour milk, cut my own nails, cleaning up my toys, doing dishes- that was the worst. I remember trying not to gag as I scrubed and washed all the plates that were filled with food at first but now with leftover scraps. The worst part was when two dishes would be mixed to lessen the amount of plates on the table. The blend of the two foods would mix together creating something out of a horror novel.
Not only that, but I hated milk and the stench of it, and even though I wasn’t forced to clean up plates and cups that were my parents, it was bad. I definitely almost threw up. Every single child had experiences with washing dishes, but I feel that when you have to be a role model for a younger person, it’s much more work. Everything you do will be reflected to not just yourself, but to others. You’re doing dishes for not you, but to your siblings too. Setting the example for the first time, is challenging. Having the constant nagging in the back of your mind that your actions are reflected is irritating. In the end, however, it helps you as a person grow. I now know to set tables, pour milk, cut my own nails, clean up after myself, and do the dishes, and guess what – my sister does to, for the most part. In the first few years of her life, compared to mine, she has had much more chores to do, and has had less bad habits. I’d like to say that I’ve become a pretty decent role model. There was a lot of work, many hours of arguing, but in the end, it payed off. Both me and my sister have become better people through this.
Since then, though, things have changed. She’s seven now, as old as I was when the responsibilities came. She now attends school for the most of her day, and so she gets influenced by her peers much more than by me. The manipulation and experiments no longer worked with positive results, she had her own interests and I had mine. She still copies me somewhat, but not much. Too many outside forced have intervened, and I’m not the one who is supposed to control her life. At first, I thought that I could finally relax and stop trying to be a role model, but when I tried to be messy again, I couldn’t really do it. If I didn’t set the table, I felt mad at myself for not doing that. It may possibly be from being more grown up than I was, but I feel that having the opportunity to be a role model has changed me in a positive way, and for my sister, having a role model has changed her in a positive way. In life, everyone should have a role model at some point, or be a role model.
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