The relationship of siblings as children is a cornerstone for how we develop into adulthood. Whether your sibling was your closest ally growing up or your greatest tormentor, the relationship unquestionably contributed to who you are today. What you may not realize, however, is that if you are an older sibling, you may be the secret to your younger sibling’s success.
Younger siblings start trying to keep up with their older siblings at a very early age. We learn through mimicking what we see around us. The closer in age in age someone is to us the more likely we are to try copying what they do. This means your younger sibling might have started walking, talking, or engaging in play at an earlier age than you did.
Keeping up with you often meant your younger sibling rejected childish pastimes in favor of more mature interests as you grew up. This might mean your younger sibling was a more serious student than you. It could also mean your younger sibling applied themselves at sports and understood the rules at an earlier age than you did. If you played an instrument, sang, or were involved in theatre, chances are your younger sibling tried these too. Being focused sooner in life may have made it seem like your younger sibling had natural talents or abilities that you did not, but it was an early introduction and hero-like worship for you that gave your younger sibling an advantage.
It’s natural to distance oneself from our parents’ tastes in clothing, music or leisure interests through our adolescent years, but older siblings are often seen as the epitome of cool during early formative years. While younger siblings will eventually experience a period of rejecting their older siblings as role models also, everything you exposed your sibling to imprinted on their interests and sense of style. Younger siblings are adept at bridging generational divides because of that exposure. Younger siblings are more likely to be able to communicate effectively with people of different age groups. This means younger siblings do well in careers that put them in front of broad audiences such as college professors, life coaches or writers.
As the older sibling, you might not have always welcomed your younger sibling as a tag-a-long. Being left out was probably frustrating and hurtful to your younger sibling. Years of feeling excluded make younger siblings great INCLUDERS. Younger siblings are more likely than older siblings to try to bring the family together. They are also more likely to be the center of their social circle. The inclination to draw people together makes younger siblings more likely to succeed as team leaders or hold management positions in the workplace as adults.
Being an older sibling, you had privileges like staying up later, staying home alone or being included in adult conversations, that your younger sibling might have felt envious of. You know that being an older sibling also included more chores, the ever-present command to “watch out” for your younger sibling and the admonishment “you’re too old for that” when you engaged in something childish for your age.
If you’ve ever felt a need to compete with your younger sibling or even a bit of jealousy for how well they’re doing today, take heed, you hold at least some credit for your younger sibling’s success.
We would love to hear your stories of how either you helped in your younger sibling’s success or how your older sibling helped you succeed. Feel free to reach out and let us know at
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