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JLeslie's avatar

Siblings: did you feel competitive with your sibling(s) growing up?

Asked by JLeslie (61471points) September 12th, 2011

Please tell us:

- Where you fell in the birth order.
– If you felt competitive.
– What gender you and your siblings are.
– If your parents encouraged the competition.

I have a theory that older siblings generally feel they were not trying to be competitive, and did not care about competing with younger siblings, while younger siblings feel they have to compete, or measure up.

I am the oldest, I don’t feel I competed with my sister at all, and I never felt like I wanted or needed to. My parents overall did not encourage us to compete, but every now and again there were stray comments that complimented a strength in one of us, that may have inadvertently made the other feel like they did not measure up as well on that particular thing. Still, it was very rare, mostly they encouraged us to play together, and be individuals.

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16 Answers

Jude's avatar

I am the baby. I have three older siblings. And, there is an 8 year difference between the third sibling and I.

I got away with murder. :) I never fought with them. I didn’t compete, either. When I was in elementary, I had my own friends and had no idea what my sibs were up to. By the time that I was in high school, they were all out of the house.

Now, we are all very close.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m a male middle child, older sister, younger brother. Never felt any competition. I was always working with my father so we had a very close bond. I wouldn’t be surprised if my other siblings felt competitive towards me.

marinelife's avatar

I was the oldest.
I am female.
I never felt competitive with my siblings.

AmWiser's avatar

Nope! No competitiveness amongst my dysfunctional siblings. I’m a middle child.
We don’t even compete to see who can be the most dysfunctional.

cockswain's avatar

Great question. I was just thinking about this the other day. I’m 4.5 years older than my brother. Growing up, there wasn’t really any competition since I had a significant edge on him in everything. I bullied him a bit, like most older brothers do, but outgrew it. I don’t know if he thinks I bullied him too much, but I hope not. Retrospectively, I wish I had never been anything other than kind and nurturing.

We now have a fine relationship and travel to see each other a couple times a year, a few days at a time. But there is no question that he feels very competitive with me. I, on the other hand, feel proud of him when he can beat me at something, but don’t ever let up to give him an easy win. I know he’s competitive in general, and I don’t know if he’s more competitive with me. I’m guessing that it stems from our youth, in that he wants to whip my ass in any and everything as payback.

The reason I was thinking about it recently is because he visited for 5 days last week. He’s a great tennis player, and I started playing a couple years ago. I’ve been hounding him for lessons, and he gave me a few hours of instruction. He seems very proud I asked him for help, and very pleased his lessons improved my game immediately. But he’s still two levels above me and can destroy me. However, if we shoot pool or play a videogame, he REALLY wants to win. Way more than anyone else I play in general. To the point that I looked over while about to take a difficult shot in pool and he was so hoping I was going to screw it up. I mean he just wanted me to fail so bad since it would give him a better chance. But on the flipside, I don’t really care who wins, I just want a close game. When he makes a great shot, I compliment him because I’m proud he did well. When I make a great shot, it irritates him. Further, I won a few games in a row and he didn’t want to play anymore since he felt he wasn’t playing well. Personally, I don’t care if I lose 20 in a row against him, I just want to hang out. But for him it is important to beat me. Also, he has little interest in learning any new game or sport in which I’m already proficient. I suspect that it’s because he knows he would lose and cares too much about that. I hope one day he gets over it.

Sorry for rambling. It was just the right question for me at the right time.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I was the second child, he was older than me by 5 and a half years. He was a boy, I was a girl. My parents didn’t encourage competition, though they did compare us (in non-productive ways, it seems to me). They didn’t encourage competition because he and I were different genders and therefore had our paths clearly planned out for us and never the two shall meet, so they thought. In general, my brother and I had our ups and downs, but when I was a teen, I admired him and pitied him…depending on which aspect of his personality I was analyzing. He was always proud of me even though he did manipulate me, like he manipulated many people. He died when I was 17.

ucme's avatar

I have two brothers, i’m bang in the middle age wise. We were competitive only when playing sports or when it came to dares & stuff. I don’t care if you’re kin, I ain’t gonna letcha win boy!!

DominicX's avatar

I am the second oldest of four, I have an older sister and two younger brothers. Growing up I did not feel that competitive outside of grades. I always wanted to get grades that were as good as my sister’s or better (and I wanted to make sure that I was always doing as well as my brothers or better). I didn’t have much trouble doing that (not to be cocky, but it’s true), but otherwise I didn’t really feel that competitive. My brothers are more athletic and I didn’t feel like I had to compete with them in sports, my older younger brother is more musically talented than I am and I didn’t feel like I had to compete with him in that field either, etc. And no, my parents did not encourage competition, this was all me. My parents wanted us to excel in what we were good at, sure, but I didn’t take that as a sign of competition.

Haleth's avatar

I’m the oldest daughter, and I’ve never felt competitive. My sister and I do have a running joke about how she’s so much taller, though. She’s 5’8 and I’m 5’2, and on top of that she wears heels all the time.

Mariah's avatar

I have one sister four years older than me. I can’t say I’ve ever felt competitive. Being four years apart, we are usually in different enough “phases” in our lives that our priorities are different and what’s important to her at any given time might not be important to me yet. I have always looked up to her a bit, I can’t say I’m competitive.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I am the oldest of all girls, and I don’t feel competitive with my siblings. My youngest sister has made comments that make it sound as if she does feel a need to “measure up” or “out do” the rest of us, so birth order might have something to do with it.

muppetish's avatar

I am the middle child to one older sibling (four years my senior) and one younger sibling (one year my junior.) My parents never put any pressure on us to measure up against one another. We all did well in school (though both my older sibling and I hit rough patches in middle school.) Although I did not feel as though I was competing against my siblings, I felt as though I had to do as well (if not better) than them. Neither of my siblings had to put much effort into studying or completing homework. I had to haul ass to keep the high grades I achieved. I would have felt like a failure if I had fared worse than either of my siblings in terms of academics. My parents assured me regularly that they were just as proud of me as they were my siblings.

ddude1116's avatar

I have an older sister by seven years. We competed some until she went to college and haven’t bothered to since. Before then, we would always vie for control of the remote or who got the front seat and whatnot. My sister was older enough, too, that she was independent, so I never had to worry about getting too little attention. We competed some in the years preceding her leaving, but it was always over trivial things that I only made a big deal of because I was so little. She’s done infinitely more to help me in my life that it seems itself trivial, and especially more so as I get older and see things from her perspective more.

BeccaBoo's avatar

I am the middle of 2 brothers and the youngest of 2 step sisters. None of us ever competed purley as we all did our own thing growing up and had different friends and stuff going on. Still the same now. And mum and step dad were way too into each other to bother about what we were doing,

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m number 3 of 6. My mom used to favour one child over another but when my older two sisters dropped out of school her attention really fell on me. I had always done well at school. She really talked up my grades and that caused a lot of problems between me and my younger sister. From about grade 8 on my sister would just sneer at me when she saw me. She regularly exploded at me about one issue or another.

I finally stopped bringing home my report cards and showing them to my mom.

I’m much closer to her since my mom passed away but she can still have these moments of passive aggressive attacks that make me cringe.

Hibernate's avatar

I was the first. It was never a competition. I liked other things than my brother and he did not like anything I liked. It was good though because when we were together we were good at everything and nobody messed with us [he he]. We were calm persons but if someone said anything about ou families we became very aggressive.

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