From Our Blog: Sibling Relationships: The Older Brother/Younger Sister Dynamic

older brother and younger sister playing in the woods

In our family of four, my 9-year-old daughter is the only one in our household that has an older brother. I have a younger sister, my husband has an older sister, and obviously, my 12-year-old son has a younger sister.   

The older brother/younger sister dynamic is a concept that’s been pretty foreign to me. I’ve always pictured the older brother/younger sister relationship to be like it is on television shows. She’ll have a crush on his friends. He’ll take her under his wing. She will look up to him. He will be her protector. She’ll ask him for advice. They’ll bicker, battle and fight, but it’s all love in the end. One second they may be arguing, but the next minute they are each other’s biggest supporters - and joining forces against me.

Over the last nine years I’ve seen that a lot of that older bro/younger sis dynamic is true; I’ve witnessed the “don’t do say that to my sister” or “what about my sister?” when they’ve played with a group of kids in the neighborhood. And my daughter? When my son played little league baseball, she hated when his team lost. She’s hardly the cheerleader, but when his team lost, she’d refer to those opposing teams as “cheaters” for the rest of the season.

As the big brother, my son tries to teach her right from wrong - sometimes a little too much! When my husband is away on a business trip, as if my daughter isn’t listening or behaving and he simply looks at me and says “What are we going to do with her?”

My, daughter, as the little sis, was always so excited if she saw her brother at school. Her kindergarten teacher would tell us that when she saw her brother in the hallway, her eyes lit up and she beamed a major smile. Almost like she spotted a movie star in the hallway. Even now, more often than not, she only wants to play/do what he’s doing, which obviously isn’t always a thrill to him. But this girl will absolutely tell him like it is. She doesn’t take any snide from him just because she’s younger. 

I realize that they are still young and their relationship is still developing, but from what I’ve observed, “so far, so good.” Unless they are trying to fool me, it does appear that they enjoy one another’s company. Often you can find them hanging out, making each other laugh or playing video and computer games together. When one makes an achievement they’ve been trying so hard for in a game, who do you think is the first person they call for? Each other. Shh….don’t tell anyone, but I THINK they like each other.

I don’t think I realized how special the sibling relationship was until I had children of my own.

I’ll close with a message to them: As you get older, I hope you stay close. Life will take you in different directions, but I hope you stay the best of friends. Take care of each other. Support each other. Be more than siblings, be each other’s lifelines always. You, My, Dears, are the best parts of me and your dad.

This post first appeared on Suburban Misfit Mom and has been republished with permission.

My name is Melissa – I’m a native New Yorker and the mother of two school-aged children. My son is in middle school and my daughter is in elementary school and they are both Bright Horizons alumni. I love working for an organization that has meant so much to our family. As an Enrollment Counselor, I assist families with the enrollment process for our centers in NYC. What a way to pay it forward! Having been through the incredible Bright Horizons experience as parent, from infants all the way through Kindergarten Prep, I’m so happy to be able to share some of my views and experiences with The Family Room community.

What to Read Next: Read more posts about siblings from The Family Room bloggers including Sibling Rivalry: How to Teach Kids to Be Kind and Children's Birthday Parties: Is It OK to Bring Siblings?

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older brother and younger sister playing in the woods