How Age Gap Affects Sibling Relationships

You may not believe it but age difference can affect relationships between siblings. If you want to know how age gap affects sibling relationships, you’ve come to the right place. Here are stories of a few individuals on the relationship they have with their siblings of both large and small age gaps.

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age gap
Suki (middle) with her younger sister (left) and elder sister (right). (Image Credit: Suki Choong)

Suki Choong, 22

I have an elder sister who is only 2 years older and a younger sister who is younger than me by 7 years. I personally think that the age difference between siblings can really affect their relationship.

I’ll start off by talking about my relationship with my elder sister, Alezendra. I’m much closer with my elder sister than I am with my younger sister but I’ll still feel the need to respect Alezendra even if the age gap between us is only 2 years.

For some reason, we were not as close when we were younger. We only started growing closer after we were older, we started sharing more in common and begun relying on each other. We both had to leave home in order to pursue further education.

I left home to study in Kuala Lumpur while Alezendra went to Australia for her studies. From there, I believe we shared the same experiences and challenges and we understood each other the most. That helped us form a very deep bond. I also completely agree that it is due to the small age difference that we’re closer.

When it comes to my younger sister, Wendy, though. I’ve actually never been close with her. When we were kids, I used to feel so annoyed whenever Wendy spoke to me. It was actually because of her disrespectful attitude, I just couldn’t stand her talking to her.

Wendy is the youngest at home and due to that, our parents tend to always be easy on her. Let’s just say they spoiled her the most out of us all. But now that we’re older, I think we may have gotten a little closer because she has matured. But it’s not like we are very close now either, we’re just closer compared to how we used to be. We talk to each other and things are not awkward between us but that’s all.

This relationship can never be compared to the relationship that I have with Alezendra. Once again, I agree that the reason I’m not as close with my younger sibling is because of the large age gap between us. We didn’t have much in common, it was difficult looking for a topic to talk about.

It feels as though we’re both from different generations, which probably isn’t wrong because 7 years really is quite far apart. It seems the age gap between my sisters and I played a huge role in determining our relationship. I love them both equally but it’s just a matter of who I’d go to for comfort when life puts me down.

age gap
Ivana and her younger brother. (Image Credit: Ivana Liew)

Ivana Liew, 23

When we were younger, my parents and relatives used to call my brother and I ‘Tom & Jerry’ because we would be fighting all the time. It was such a long time ago, I can’t remember why we fought so much. My parents always put the responsibility on me to watch over my brother because I am the oldest sibling. If he did anything wrong, I would be scolded as well which isn’t the best parenting method. Unfortunately for me, my brother always has been and always will be a troublemaker. He wasn’t called the Destroyer for no reason.

However, despite all the mess, we were very close mainly due to our close age gap of 2 years. We’d watch the same TV shows, play the same games, like the same toys, have the same childhood friends and even talk the same way. Our voices and way of speaking were so similar that people couldn’t distinguish us through the phone. We were kind of like twins in a way. According to my parents and our feng shui master, our personalities balance each other out. I was always more quiet, timid and observant while he was bold, loud and hyperactive.

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Our relationship reached a turning point 4 years ago when I finally decided to come out as a lesbian. My brother was the first family member I came out to and although he was too shock to react initially, he came around and has been my best supporter in the family since.

He’d purposely say things to normalise my sexuality in front of my parents and casually tell his friends that he has a gay sister, which are things that I can’t bring myself to do. I’m not sure if our age difference has an influence on his behaviour but perhaps it made it easier for him to understand the situation due to us being from the same generation.

Nobody’s perfect, my brother is surely not either. He may have made bad decisions in the past which affected our relationship but things have gotten better over the years. We all have to continue growing and learn to improve ourselves.

age gaps
Ida and her younger brother. (Image Credit: Ida Chong)

Ida Chong, 25

I have a 16 year old brother and we have a 9 year age gap. I’d say the age gap poses a lot of issues especially when I started growing older with more work and other priorities that started piling up my way. It was difficult to keep check of his emotions, especially when we grew up quite close. We do have our fair share of fights but it was always just a 1 day thing.

When we were younger, life was simpler and there were no issues spending time watching a movie together or just lounging around doing nothing. But as years passed, I started transitioning to different seasons in my life, with different viewpoints and having my own fair share of problems as well. I’ve always assumed that my brother would not understand the problems and struggles that I was going through.

By doing so, I’ve projected an image to my brother that I am not willing to share anything to him anymore. To put it another way, he constantly felt that I was pushing him away. The reality is that when I transited from different stages with all my problems, I’ve always wanted my brother to just understand where I’m at, but never actually putting myself in his shoes or explaining the problems that I was facing.

With that being said, being an older sister constantly means taking charge and showing a good example. But the biggest challenge in it all is just being able to communicate your thoughts and feeling when it was necessary, and that was where I failed to do so as a sister to my younger brother.

Yes, I would agree that age gap plays a big role in our relationship. Especially since we come from different generations and our topics and interest are the polar opposites, but I think at the end of the day it’s just as important to be considerate of each other’s feelings and to make it as a priority to set time apart just to share about your day and the challenges that you face during different season. It could just be the exact thing your younger sibling might need in the future!

Fast forward to present day, we don’t have the best sibling relationship and honestly most of the time we still argue about petty stuff, but I’ve learned to put my ego down and just genuinely show interest in the things that he shares to me, without brushing him off just because I was busy. And occasionally share about the people I meet at work and so on, you’d be surprised how small stuff like this could make a difference, I think having a big age gap is a challenge but it just takes some communication to make things better.

In the end, having siblings of both small and big age gaps has got its own good and bad. It all depends on taking the initiative to maintain a good relationship between family members.

For more similar stories, please visit Motherhood.com.my.

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