I don’t know if anyone else can relate, but I can distinctly remember having on-and-off fights with my older brother approximately every year from kindergarten to middle school. It’s sort of what comes with the territory of having a sibling. While fights are certainly a staple in sibling relationships that doesn’t mean that they’re all these relationships are made up of.
For example, anyone who has a sibling can probably remember the good times you had together that peeked through all the ups-and-downs of your dynamic through the years. For me, I vividly remember that in elementary school, my brother would let me sleep in his lower bunk bed whenever there was a thunderstorm outside (thunder and lightning were the bane of my existence back then, guys). Other sibling-havers may relate to the duality in sibling relationships as well, which is why I compiled a list of pros and cons of having a sibling below: to expose the nice, the bad, and the surprisingly good friendship qualities these relationships can offer.
1. The Constant Fights
Even the best sibling relationships aren’t immune to a little bit of mutual hostility. Whether it be the proximity between you guys that drives it—a sort of cabin fever effect by way of family—or otherwise, there’s no denying that in-fighting is almost expected between siblings.
2. Everything is Shared
Up to a certain extent, this isn’t a bad thing. But especially as a child, it can be really grating to have to share everything with your siblings by virtue of you guys being siblings—from video games and toys, to clothes, to even bedrooms. For all the individualists out there, too much sharing can get on one’s nerves after a while.
3. Lack of Privacy
Sort of as an extension of the last con, it can be hard to catch a break when your siblings are always around. As people grow older, they tend to value alone time more and more, and siblings can be an obstacle to this—whether you guys share a room together or if your sibling is just always in your business for seemingly no reason.
This isn’t true of all sibling relationships, but some siblings have an unspoken pressure to out-perform the other in different aspects of life. This pressure might be placed on them by parents, society, or some other outside forces that make them believe that one sibling must be better than the other. Such rivalry can go completely unspoken yet put a lot of strain on a sibling bond.
5. You’re Treated as a Unit
We’ve all been there—when your sibling does something bad, but you somehow get roped into the punishment too despite not having contributed to the troublemaking. Getting lumped into a unit with your sibling can no doubt be a huge pain, especially as a kid! As an adult, being lumped into a unit with your sibling can make it more difficult to demonstrate that you guys have your own individuality.
1. Those Strange Moments of Solidarity
Ever have those times as a kid when you’ve had to tell someone something along the lines of, “Hey! No one can make fun of my sibling except for me!”? The good thing about that is that sort of solidarity between you two will last for a lifetime. You guys can even be having the worst fight ever and still have each other’s backs regardless.
2. Passed Down Wisdom
Older siblings who’ve had to act as the “guinea pigs” for your parents truly give the best advice. This pro is obviously for all the younger siblings out there, but internally, it can be really gratifying for older siblings to help out their younger ones too. Frequent, positive advice-giving, after all, is a good friendship quality.
3. Older Siblings = A Buffer Between You and Adults
As figures in your life that are older than you but not quite adults, older siblings can be great for frankly explaining “embarrassing” things to you that your parents might be hesitant to. For example, if you, as a girl, can relate to the experience of having your older sister taking you bra shopping for the first time, you can definitely resonate with this pro.
4. A Unique Shoulder to Cry On
There are times when you have specific issues that you don’t want your parents or friends to know about—but your siblings, as close family, can have insight into. In these times, your siblings can provide comfort for you that you won’t be able to get from anyone else.
5. A Forever Friend
Another good friendship quality: when friends stick by each other’s side through thick and thin. Your sibling will never stop being your sibling, and when you guys have a good relationship, that means you guys will never stop being friends, too. You’ll always have someone to call and rely on when things get tough.
Seriously, the strength of a sibling relationship should never be underestimated. Sure, there are always low points between you two, but almost every sibling bond conceals good friendship qualities in some way, shape, or form whether they be subtle or not. Considering the constant highs-and-lows of siblinghood, it’s really important to take note of these good friendship qualities whenever they appear so that you don’t take your relationship for granted.