Kids Talk About: Brothers and Sisters

When we asked about brothers and sisters, you guys didn't hold back! More than 2,000 kids wrote in to tell us — often in great detail — about their wonderful brothers and sisters.

OK, not everyone said they were wonderful. But just about everyone said that their brothers and sisters were great at least some of the time — even when they ate all the best cereal, or talked like a baby too much, or pulled their hair. Ouch! Not nice!

Poems

Lots of kids even took the time to write poems about their sisters and bros. Here are some of our favorites:

Thanks for letting me use the stuff that wasn't always mine.
Thanks for laughs and the fun times, too.
Thanks for not hitting me with your shoe.
Even when you wanted to.

— by Bailey, 11, about her 17-year-old brother Zachary

My sister is Sally
She’s silly and strange,
But she's my sister and we're both the same.
Sometimes we fight like all people do,
But I know she loves me and I do her, too.

— by Dean, 12, about his 15-year-old sister, Sally

Uh oh, Here comes Tamsin,
And here comes a fight,
A bubbling volcano, pushing out the walls,
Destroying a lovely day,
Smashing and bashing thoughts,
I think I'm going to pop.
And what does she say?
"How was your day, Caitlin?" I am sooooooo astounded!!!!

— by Caitlin, 10, about her 7-year-old sister Tamsin

Do you see that fighting comes up an awful lot? Just about everyone mentioned the fighting. Brothers and sisters do a lot of it, according to our survey. More than half of kids said they fight with their siblings at least once a day, with 38% saying they argue more than once a day. Wow, that's a lot!

The Complaint Department

From what kids reported, being annoying or rude is often what most gets on their nerves about their brothers or sisters. Other complaints included:

  • being too competitive
  • ignoring people
  • getting too much attention
  • not respecting privacy (like barging into someone's room without knocking)
  • having an "attitude"
  • being whiny

When they fight, most kids say they yell at their siblings or call them mean names. Almost half said they hit each other. But some of the kids — about 20% — say they ask their mom or dad to help them work out a solution to the problem. That's a lot better than hitting and hurting each other. And even more kids — almost 40% — say that after a fight, they apologize to their brother or sister and go back to being close.

More good news is that lots of kids said they wanted to stop yelling and fighting with their siblings as much as they do. Alaina, 9, wishes she could stop screaming and crying when she gets angry with her older brother. Here, in her poem, she describes how she's trying to get along better with him:

I'm not always mad.
His jokes keep me from being sad.
So from now on, I'll always love him.
Try not to bug him.
And be the sweetest sister you've ever seen.

And Caitlin, who wrote the poem about her "volcanic" sister Tamsin, said she needs to make some changes, too. "I would like to change the number of fights we have a day to ZERO!" she said. "I would also like to change the way I do not include her in some of my things, or make her the loser and idiotic character in my games."

Those are really good things for Caitlin to work on. It's not always easy, but if brothers and sisters try hard, they might be able to cut down on the fighting. Maybe start with just one day and make it "No Fight Day." Oh, how happy your mom and dad will be!

And even if it doesn't last all day, agree to have some rules about what's OK and what's not OK when you argue. For instance, hitting and hurting is never OK.

The Good News!

Enough about fighting! Let's talk about the good stuff — like 60% of kids said they're nice to their siblings most of the time or all of the time.

And 71% said they consider their brother or sister a friend. Even Nicholas, 8, who said he'd like his 10-year-old brother to be nicer to him. In fact, Nicholas likes his brother a lot. Just read his poem about him:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
You're funny and nice, and smart, too!!!!!!!!!!!

Amaris, 9, wishes her younger brother Philip would start knocking on her door before coming into her room. But she really appreciates how he comes to her ball games and cheers for her.

And 12-year-old Nick said he loves that his younger sister Lexy is really competitive. It makes her fun to play with, he said. Here's his poem:

My sister's name is Lexy
She can sometimes be a pain!
But she's someone to play with, when you can't go in the rain.
We fight sometimes when we get mad, like bros and sisses will do.
Though I can always count on her,
In life, all the way through!

Into the Future

A lot of kids agreed with Nick about brothers and sisters sticking together through the years. In fact, 75% of kids said they expected to still hang out with their brothers or sisters even when they're grownups.

That's a funny thing to think about. Today, you're sharing the back seat of the car, but one day you will be all grown up and driving the car! And maybe your kids and your brother's or sister's kids will be sitting together in the back seat. They'll be cousins. Do you think they'll fight too? Probably not as much as brothers or sisters would. Uh-oh, when you are grown up, you'll be the parent having to break up the fights!

But for now, you're still a kid. Life with brothers and sisters can be rough and tumble sometimes, but there's a lot of fun and good times to be had too.

The next time you want to complain about your brother or sister, consider this: We asked only-children (kids who don't have brothers or sisters) if they wished they had a brother or sister. What do you think they said?

Nearly all said…YES!

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2011

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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