Stereotypes Podcast Part 1: Siblings

Discussing common sibling stereotypes

Sarah Liu and Michelle Zheng

S: Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m an older sibling.

M: Hi, I’m Michelle and I’m a younger sibling.

S & M: And today we’ll be discussing common sibling stereotypes!

M: Stereotype number one: younger siblings are more spoiled. 

S: I would agree to some extent, but not in a super extreme way because I think it’s more like the younger sibling is seen as the “baby” of the family, and, you know, you usually spoil babies, and you dote on them, so I feel like that’s the main reason. Plus, once parents realize their kids are growing up, I feel like they want to almost preserve the youngest child’s childhood and hold onto that younger sibling. 

M: Yeah. Same here. I also feel like my parents spoil me more than my brother, but I would actually say that the parents begin to coddle the older siblings more once they realize that they are about to go off to college soon. During this time, especially if the age gap is big, the younger siblings might actually be ignored. 

S: Well, I’m leaving soon, so my parents better start coddling me fast. 

S: Stereotype two: Younger siblings are attention-seekers.

Michelle: Yeah, I sort of agree, because parents tend to spend more time helping the older siblings, because they’re going off to college, and the younger ones feel left out a lot. This results in their desire for others to give them attention. But, this varies from person to person. Personally, my family gives equal attention to both my brother and I, and in that case, the younger sibling won’t seek other people’s attention. Usually, it’s those who have a lot of older siblings that tend to be attention seekers.

S: OK well, unlike Michelle, I 100% agree with this statement. I don’t know if it’s some hidden secret skill or something, but I feel like younger siblings have this uncanny ability to bring out the waterworks every single time something happens. 

M: OK actually … I would say otherwise. Well, personally, I never cried whenever my brother and I fought or something like that. I think it was the fact that crying never got me anything since my parents always left my brother and I to resolve our own issues, I think that’s a factor. But also, I think that anybody can have the ability to bring out the waterworks because that’s mainly due to their personality. 

S: You do have to agree that younger siblings’ tears are a hundred times more effective than older siblings when it comes to getting what they want. 

M: Nah, that’s facts.

M: Stereotype number three: older siblings are more independent. 

S: Mmm, I somewhat agree with this one. Again, I agree with Michelle in that a lot of these stereotypes are based on their personality rather than birth order, but older siblings are the ones testing the waters and trying everything out first. 

M: I mean older siblings are known as the “Guinea pigs” right?

S: Yeah, for example on your first day of school, older siblings have to figure things out for themselves while younger siblings can ask older siblings for help or guidance, so in that sense, older siblings are forced to be more independent. 

M: You’re right about that. Younger siblings have the choice to either follow their older siblings’ paths (which makes everything easy for them) or create their own. If they choose to pave their own paths, then younger siblings will be more independent. It’s only when younger siblings follow their older siblings’ paths that’s when they become more dependent on other people.  

S: And the fact that younger siblings tend to follow the paths of their older siblings actually ties into stereotype number four, which is that younger siblings have more expectations to live up to. 

M: Legacies right? Older siblings have to live up to their parents’ expectations, but younger siblings have to fill both their parents and their older siblings’ shoes. That’s a lot of pressure on them. Even if parents don’t explicitly place that pressure on the younger siblings, there’s that unconscious thought that pushes them to feel like they need to do better than their older siblings. 

S: Definitely agree, I think a lot of younger siblings look up to their older siblings, so they may want to follow in their footsteps. But I don’t necessarily agree that they’re overshadowed by their older siblings, I feel like a lot of younger siblings, after growing up, find their own interests or niches that are different from their older siblings and are able to shine or stand out in their own way.

M: You know, after discussing these different stereotypes about siblings, I think we can conclude that a lot of them are more based on people’s personalities rather than their birth order. 

S: Therefore, sibling stereotypes usually don’t apply to everyone but are true for certain people, like Michelle. 

M: Hey!