Our upbringing has a profound influence on us, but we also need to remember that, our past doesn’t necessarily have to influence our future.
How our peers and the adults around us behaved, what they valued, and how they used language all shaped us.
Our experience may have inspired us either to conform to their preferences or to diverge from them.
Few aspects of our upbringing shape our consciousness as much as our siblings.
For example . . .
Three-quarters of the US’s top female soccer players have at least one older sibling.
Across sports and worldwide, “top athletes tend to be later-born children.”
At least until a child’s adolescence, his or her older siblings are always bigger and stronger, serving as both inspiration and competition.
Younger kids must work harder to beat their siblings than to defeat their young peers.
Just like a common motto in my favorite manga, the key to become stronger is by fighting those who are much stronger than you and never giving up.
Another interesting thing . . .
Usually, a firstborn like me tends to be a family’s academic star. Which at the moment seems accurate, but I got a feeling that one of my younger sister might actually overthrown me from the top spot.
Younger siblings can try to mimic an older sibling by also excelling in school. Or they can diverge and choose to thrive in sports.
Meanwhile, the firstborns tend to hold more conservative views; younger siblings diverge and tend to be more permissive.
In general, siblings seldom mimic each other in significant ways. Studies say siblings are “little more alike” than any two people picked at random. This may be because siblings grow up in essentially different “environments.”
Parents and their parenting change from child to child. The world in which a firstborn grew up may be long gone by the time a younger sibling comes along. Mimicking might lead younger siblings to imitate the enthusiasms of their older brothers and sisters. Those who do so quickly learn there is little room for them on the same road. It is hard to become “the artsy one, funny one” or “sporty one” if an older sibling already claimed that role.
Younger siblings diverge to protect their individuality and their identities. And the same time, more attention.
“We mimic the facial expressions, gestures, actions and even language of the people around us. We smile when others smile, wince when we see others in pain and say ‘ya’ll’ when talking to a friend from Texas.”