The Parent/Sibling Balance
This piece has been made anonymous to protect the identity of the writer.
One of the most important yet difficult things I have found about being a big sister is finding a good balance between the parent/sibling role. This dynamic has taught me so much, from realising home truths about myself to recognising the sacrifices that are made for those that you love unconditionally.
Growing up my parents had a very turbulent relationship and when I was 10 they had my little brother. As he neared 2 years old their relationship began to stabilise, but both my parents further immersed their selves into their work. Thankfully this meant that my brother did not have to witness the same toxicity and trauma I did and in the case of major arguments I was there to “protect him”. As their lives were quite hectic I was given a lot of responsibility with him and I absolutely loved it. Not only was I a big sister, but also a protector, a role model, a mother and a friend.
Finding a balance between being a sibling and a parent is something that I am sure every older sibling has experienced, as is something I still struggle with today. Both in myself, with my brother, and even with my mother.
"having a maternal and unconditional love with him is something that, quite literally, saved my life."
The time I spent caring for him has meant that he sees me as a maternal figure and I see myself as a mother to him, from the unconditional love I have for him, to making him his breakfast on a day to day basis to him getting in my bed when he has nightmares. But, as I am sure every sibling can understand is the conflicting nature of sibling relationships – we know exactly how to push each others buttons and can have intense arguments that are long forgotten 5 minutes later when we decide to watch tv together or go and get a takeaway. Finding a balance between parent and friend is something that is so difficult and unique and will differ for each relationship and change as you both grow and change yourselves. The uniqueness of these relationships is honestly something that is so special and amazing as it is like having a best friend and a parent all in one. This relationship with my brother is something I that value immensely and having a maternal and unconditional love with him is something that, quite literally, saved my life.
Being a big sister means that in spite of whatever I am going through in my own life I will ALWAYS put my brother and his needs before my own. This means being a good role model and setting a good example, as well as teaching them how to treat and respect others as well as themselves but something else this has meant for me personally, is how my brother has saved me from myself – as throughout the more difficult and tumultuous times in my life, whenever I have been in a dark place – the only thing stopping me from acting impulsively is the thought of my little brother and the impact my actions would have on him and his life.
This love and consideration I have for him has taught me so much about myself and has forced me to be aware of all of my faults and take responsibility for my actions as I have to consider all of the implications that they may have on him. This relationship is something that, I believe is not only good for me but also my brother – I am the person he confides in, goes to for help with homework, friends and to talk to about everything and anything. This is something that I feel has been so integral to my personal growth as this relationship has been something that has given me purpose in difficult times, and on a day-to-day basis encourages me to strive for success and make him proud.