First Draft

When I was fourteen, my family of five dropped down to a family of four. Now before I get ahead of myself nothing horrible like a death in the family occurred. Instead it was something good that happened, amazing even. My older brother Corey was given the opportunity to study golf at a prep school in Florida. This prep school had a golf academy affiliated with it, Core Golf Academy. My brother was only sixteen at the time but he had just finished the best golf season of his life and left for the sunshine state brimming with confidence. The rest of the family had different reactions. My father, much like my brother, couldn’t contain his pride and would tell everyone within hearing distance that his son studied at Core Academy. My mother was a mess, to put it nicely. She threw herself into planning everything; his flight, packing his bags, teaching him how to do laundry… But we all knew she was trying to make up for the fact that she felt awful about letting her sixteen year old son, her only son, go off to school in another country without her. My sister was also quite upset by his departure. She once again proved to us that her and my mother share more than just their appearance by helping prepare Corey and by pretending that she was fine with him leaving. There is only a year and a few months separating my brother and sister in age and I’ve always felt that they had a special bond because of this. I, on the other hand, was elated by my brother’s departure. I relished at the idea of spending nine months of the year without him. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my brother, how could I not? But most days, I didn’t really like him. I found him arrogant and rude. I hated the way my parents favored him and let him get away with everything. Most of all, I hated how we were practically identical in personality. I hated the fact that I was just like him and that’s why we argued so much. Sure, I shed a tear when I said goodbye to him. Goodbyes’ in general are difficult, more so when it’s someone in your family. But once that flight took off, I didn’t speak to my brother until he came home for the summer.

This past fall, my family of four became a family of three. My sister, Cayleigh, left for Newcastle Upon Tyne, England to study at the University of Newcastle for six months. To understand what a huge opportunity this was for my sister you need to know a bit about her. Firstly, my sister loves to travel. She’s been to amazing places such as China, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and all over Europe. Secondly, my sister loves history. She loves reading all about the Romans and the Greeks and is currently enrolled in the Classics program at Concordia University. Thirdly, my sister is extremely independent. She has had the mind of a forty year old by the age of fourteen. I’ve always admired this quality in my sister but hated it as well. This meant that my sister has never needed me as much as I’ve needed her. And boy have I needed her throughout the first eighteen years of my life. Cayleigh has been my best friend since the day I was born. She has gone above and beyond her “sisterly duties” every day. I’ll leave it at that because writing about all the things my sister has done for me would be an article in itself. Once again my family went through interesting reactions to her departure. My father, the ever adoring man he is, asked if that meant he could sleep in her room because her bed is supposedly the comfiest. My mother, like before with my brother, covered up her despair through planning every single detail possible. And what was my reaction you might ask? Well I freaked out. Not only was my best friend in the entire world leaving me, after I’d been with her my entire life, but she was also leaving for a country in another continent in a completely different time zone.

My two entirely different reactions to both of my siblings leaving left me thinking; why? Why is it that I’m so close to one of my siblings but not the other? Is it because were both girls and that somehow gives us a closer connection? That seemed possible but I also know many girls who are extremely close to their brothers. Maybe it’s because my brother left when I was younger and I didn’t fully realize what his departure would mean? That didn’t seem likely either because I was fourteen not four and I had a firm grasp on what going away to University meant.

First Draft: Take 2

When I was fourteen, my family of five dropped down to a family of four. Now before I get ahead of myself nothing horrible like a death in the family occurred. Instead it was something good that happened, amazing even. My older brother Corey was given the opportunity to study golf at a prep school in Florida. This prep school had a golf academy affiliated with it, Core Golf Academy. My brother was only sixteen at the time but he had just finished the best golf season of his life and left for the sunshine state brimming with confidence. The rest of the family had different reactions. My father, much like my brother, couldn’t contain his pride and would tell everyone within hearing distance that his son studied at Core Academy. My mother was a mess, to put it nicely. She threw herself into planning everything; his flight, packing his bags, teaching him how to do laundry… But we all knew she was trying to make up for the fact that she felt awful about letting her sixteen year old son, her only son, go off to school in another country without her. My sister was also quite upset by his departure. She once again proved to us that her and my mother share more than just their appearance by helping prepare Corey and by pretending that she was fine with him leaving. There is only a year and a few months separating my brother and sister in age and I’ve always felt that they had a special bond because of this. I, on the other hand, was elated by my brother’s departure. I relished at the idea of spending nine months of the year without him. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my brother, how could I not? But most days, I didn’t really like him. Most people saw him as charming, I considered him manipulative. I hated the way my parents favored him and let him get away with everything. Most of all, I hated how we were practically identical in personality. I hated the fact that I was just like him and that’s why we argued so much. Sure, I shed a tear when I said goodbye to him. Goodbyes’ in general are difficult, more so when it’s someone in your family. But once that flight took off, I didn’t speak to my brother until he came home for the summer.

This past fall, my family of four became a family of three. My sister, Cayleigh, left for Newcastle Upon Tyne, England to study at the University of Newcastle for six months. To understand what a huge opportunity this was for my sister you need to know a bit about her. Firstly, my sister loves to travel. She’s been to amazing places such as China, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and all over Europe. Secondly, my sister loves history. She loves reading all about the Romans and the Greeks and is currently enrolled in the Classics program at Concordia University. Thirdly, my sister is extremely independent. She has had the mind of a forty year old by the age of fourteen. I’ve always admired this quality in my sister but hated it as well. This meant that my sister has never needed me as much as I’ve needed her. And boy have I needed her throughout the first eighteen years of my life. Cayleigh has been my best friend since the day I was born. She has gone above and beyond her “sisterly duties” every day. I’ll leave it at that because writing about all the things my sister has done for me would be an article in itself. Once again my family went through interesting reactions to her departure. My father, the ever adoring man he is, asked if that meant he could sleep in her room because her bed is supposedly the comfiest. My mother, like before with my brother, covered up her despair through planning every single detail possible. And what was my reaction you might ask? Well I freaked out. Not only was my best friend in the entire world leaving me, after I’d been with her my entire life, but she was also leaving for a country in another continent in a completely different time zone.

My two entirely different reactions to both of my siblings leaving left me thinking; why? Why is it that I’m so close to one of my siblings but not the other? Most people would answer with the obvious response, because my sister and I are both girls. That got me thinking, is it true that siblings of the same gender are more inclined to develop close relationships? Is there any evidence to back this assumption up?

A study done by Furman and Buhremester in 1985, showed that same gender siblings are warmer to each other and closer, and that this only increases when the siblings are closer in age. However, it has also been shown that conflict and competition occur more often between siblings that are close in age, and even more so if they are the same gender. This tends to occur because a sibling who is closer to you in age and of the same gender is someone you are often compared to by parents. If your sibling is considered the “sporty” one, you’re more likely to differentiate yourself to your parents by becoming the “smart” one. This got me thinking that maybe gender isn’t as huge a factor on the strenuous relationship my brother and I share in the first place, perhaps age plays a bigger role.

A study done by Van Volkom, Machiz and Reich (2015) shows that the youngest siblings often struggle to create their own identity, more so with the larger amount of older siblings they have. Therefore, they tend to compare themselves to their sibling closest in age, and this increase in competition leads to more resentment and arguments between the two. As well, it’s common for older siblings to tease their younger siblings or to exclude them because they’re “too young” to participate. This is the likely culprit for the relationship my brother and I share. Both of us were classified as “athletic” throughout our childhood and this led to many arguments and competitions between the two of us. My sister, the “smart” one, stayed out of the countless games of HORSE on the driveway or the swimming races in the pool during the summer.

Would my brother and I’s competitive nature and the arguments that resulted because of that affect us in the long run? According to a study done by Harvard about adult development, having a poor relationship with your sibling before you’re twenty can effect whether or not you suffer from depression in the future. It has also been shown that having a close relationship with siblings can increase your overall satisfaction with life.

 

Whether or not your relationship with your siblings is a strong one or one that drives you crazy, the effects siblings have on us are lifelong. For example, growing up with siblings helps improve your social skills. Children who are only children are at a disadvantage when they first start kindergarten (or preschool) because they haven’t already had the practice of sharing with things, such as toys or even the attention of a caregiver with others. Although the rumors that only children are lonely and maladjusted have been proven false, they do lack the experience of interacting with someone your own age and having to resolve conflict and compromise that children with siblings are exposed to at a younger age.

If you have older siblings, their actions also have an effect on who you are. Older siblings are extremely important for many reasons. They are our role models for so many things in life including school, friends and appearance. When I was young, was always wearing my sister’s clothes because I wanted to be just like her. Unfortunately, not everything we model after our siblings in is positive. For example, a study done by Patricia East at the University of San Diego, found that girls whose older sister became pregnant as a teenager, is four time more likely herself to become pregnant as a teenager. As well, Richard Rende from Brown University has found that an older sibling smoking is much more influential than a parent smoking. Another university professor, Claire Stocker from the University of Denver has also found that conflict between siblings during mid-childhood, increases ones chances of anxiety and depression in adolescence.

Sibling relationships are one of the longest and most influential relationships of our lives. Our parents leave us early on in life, and our spouses and children come later in our lives. Our siblings are the ones holding our hands throughout the entire experience. For those of us who are lucky enough to have siblings, it’s impossible to deny the importance of this relationship. Not valuing it would be a mistake because these are the people who will be with you through thick and thin.

Word count before Reading Response #8: 1012 words

Word count after Reading Response #8: 1523

 

 

 

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