The Youngest Sibling Survival Guide
As the youngest in the family, you have to stand out, strike out or sink in. How you go about doing that, however, is the most important part.
By Brooke Mondor, Brookhaven College
I’m the youngest of three siblings.
While lots of people (usually older siblings) go on and on about how youngest child life is all rainbows and sunshine, I must admit that that is not the case. It’s tough being the youngest! You’re always compared to the others and perpetually in their shadows, whether good or bad.
However, along the way I’ve learned a thing or two about coping with being the baby of the family. I’ve learned that you have only a few choices when it comes to how you fit in: you can try to be the most well-behaved kid you can, rebel and sass your way to the top, or decide to melt into the shadows and move away as soon as you’re old enough to leave.
Though this is definitely not the easiest option in terms of effort, I’ve noticed it’s the popular amongst youngest siblings.
A lot of the time, younger siblings are obsessed with making great grades in school, are involved in countless extracurricular activities and tend to have good manners—at least around their parents.
These primogeniture rejects are often concerned with creating the most “perfect” image of themselves in order to get positive attention. This kind of image takes a lot of hard work to portray, including—but not limited to—extra hours of studying and completing coursework, time spent in activities outside of school and sometimes even doing community service.
Unfortunately, every so often the pressure of perfection can overburden these types of industrious younger siblings. In these cases, it’s easy to turn from motivated hard-worker to stressed out, anxiety-filled maniac.
As a result, you’ll see young siblings who tried to stand out as the best largely go one of three ways: they’ve given up; they’ve succeeded and are the model child, or they’ve thrown in the towel somewhere along the way and are just kind of…there.
No matter the outcome, if you try to stand out as the best, make sure to have a plan of action so you can know how to handle things if you don’t get the result you wanted.
On the opposite spectrum, some young siblings decide that they don’t want to work hard to outshine their siblings. It takes a lot of work, and who wants to be a goody-goody anyway? Boooriiiing.
Because they want to stand out in their own way, these siblings tend to be a bit more rebellious. More specifically, they tend to party, cuss and think differently and/or generally be more controversial than their other siblings.
While striking out doesn’t necessarily make them you a bad person, in some families rebelling can really make you negatively stand out.
By being more individualistic, some of these siblings can even get rejected from their families. As a result, it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing so limits aren’t crossed and relationships aren’t ruined.
On the other hand, if you can’t stand your family and feel a burning desire to go against the crowd, knock yourself out.
A little rebellious fun rarely hurts anyone permanently.
How far you go on your rebellious tract is really all up to you in the end—just be sure that you don’t get in legal trouble.
This is the safest option.
If you don’t really care about what your family thinks about you, then you’ll find it unnecessary to go above and beyond either in a bad or good way. Usually, sibling like this are pretty down-to-earth.
In order to blend in, they’ll probably do things like sit in the back of the classroom, pass their classes with B’s and have hobbies that are not too popular but not too obscure, either. Like robotics. Or jazz dance. In general, siblings that choose to blend in to their families are more likely to be unopinionated about things, and that’s okay.
On the other hand, some siblings camouflage their personalities at home specifically so they can get out easier. Harsh as it may sound, there are people who can’t stand either their living situation or how their life is going, and as a result they just want to get out.
If they are not as attached to their families, they will feel like they won’t be missed as much and it won’t be a big deal if they go to school in another state. It’s a tactful, if slightly saddening move, but it can be effective.