Older siblings! Role models, influences, they carry much more responsibility than it appears. Older siblings, whether they know it or not, shape their younger one’s character and personality. Parents are important, but the older sibling may reinforce or disprove some of the lessons that the parents teach. Younger siblings may not admit to it but they look up to their older sibling and they emulate them. Older siblings particularly serve as agents of socialization who teach younger siblings by example about informal social behaviors, like how to act around friends. Younger siblings are also highly susceptible to acquiring older siblings’ negative habits, including but not limited to: underage drinking and smoking.
Here’s an example, let’s look at the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, some of you may have heard of them. Wilbur was 4 years older than Orville, they basically invented the airplane and had had the first controlled, powered flight. I think it’s safe to say that if Wilbur had never played with a toy ‘helicopter’ as a child, Orville never would have had the initial interest in flying. The same could be said for the Staal brothers, they play in the NHL. if Eric had never had interest in hockey and played baseball, Jordan, Marc and Jared never would have gotten into hockey.
A lot of recent research shows that children learn undesirable behaviours like smoking, drinking and other delinquent acts from exposure to an older sibling’s behaviours as well as that of their sibling’s friends. It doesn’t matter if the siblings are of a similar age or spaced years apart, or of different gender. What is important was that parents encouraged siblings to develop a relationship where there is mutual respect. Parents are better at teaching the more formal settings – how to act in public or how to have manners at the dinner table. But siblings are better role models of the more informal behaviors: how to act at school or on the street, or, more importantly, how to act cool around friends. Siblings are closer to the social environments that children find themselves in during the majority of their day, which gives them a wider influence on them.
Should parents support sibling closeness or not? Studies have shown that siblings may have positive or negative effects on their younger siblings. How would parents be able to moderate what the older sibling teaches to the younger one, or what traits rub off? The best method for it would be for the older sibling to have many positive habits, so that theyre is a greater chance of those habits rubbing off.