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How To Train Your Younger Sibling: Five Lessons for Older Middle Children.

Updated on May 29, 2015

How to train them badly.

Oh Great: A New Brother!

How to Train Your Younger Sibling: Five Lessons for Older Middle Children: by Pearldiver; is a look at the dilemmas faced by having brothers and sisters and how some deal with this something that we usually don’t have a lot of say in. Most parents wouldn’t generally listen or take your point of view seriously anyway! My own parents just completely ignored my older sister’s and my advice on the merits of not producing a younger sibling. At the age of three it happened; a new one arrived. Just great; all the attention has just disappeared; everyone’s fussing over this continuously squawking, new bird in the nest.

It was a boy; like me, which means I’m going to have to share everything with him: My toys, My time, MY room! Why wasn’t he a she? He looks just like my sister; pale skin, red hair and freckles. I’m blond, blue eyes, tan skin and no freckles on me. If he thinks I’m going to play with dolls, he’s got another thing coming! I bet they will expect me to entertain him as well.

Sure enough, in time I got lumbered with this one and now I’m the babysitter! Ha, I’ve got an advantage over this clingy little shadow; I can walk and all he can do is slither. When will he talk, I wonder? Ha, he can’t follow me when I climb over the fence and disappear across the paddocks to freedom. Well if I’m going to have put up with this brother every day; I’m going to train him!

Let me tell you a story... about what happened to a duckling.

Lesson One: Pecking Order.

The first lesson on the agenda is all about the pecking order in his life. "Right mate you are going to learn the most important survival rules in your life." He seems to understand; he is just staring at me and smiling. “Okay, this is how it is mister; you always listen to me, what I say is what you act on. Never question me or my reasons, when I give you an order or advice. Your sister doesn’t count; she is a spy and will always try to get us into trouble, so ignore her in your world; I am the most important person you know; ahead of mum and dad. Oh yeah, sometimes when you do things right you get a pat on the head and sometimes you get your butt kicked!”

He talks now; well kind of talks. His first words were to me. He called me Goggy. “Goggy, goggy.” He isn’t normal; maybe it’s all those freckles; you can see where the flies have been. I will help him by washing them off. A flannel and a lot of laundry soap; that’s the answer. Rub and rub; keep still mate, I’ll soon have this fly pooh off your face, rub and rub, but hey I can’t budge it, but at least your face isn’t pale anymore; now it’s red! “Goggy, goggy, goggy….. Whaaaaaaa.” “Shut up will ya? Just shut up or mum will hear you!”

“What have you done to your brother? Look at his face!” “Goggy, goggy…. WhaaaaaaGoggy.” “What is he saying?” she asked. “Um, he just keeps crying when I try to stop him from rubbing his face with the soapy flannel!” “Goggy, goggy goo-baa ergoggy.” “What on earth is he saying?” “He said he likes eating the soap and he said it's your fault that he's got so many freckles!” "What? What is wrong with this boy?" Ha, she doesn’t understand a word he’s saying: Um.. Cool.

Why Not Dress to Depress?

POLL on Competing Siblings.

Did you compete with your siblings at all?

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Lesson Two: Clothes Sense.

As time passed it became obvious that my younger brother was indeed strange! He had invented his own language and dragged me into his strangeness; in that I actually understood what he was saying. I couldn’t speak his language, just understand it and for that reason I became the interpreter and the master of his fate. I would be the first to admit that I wasn’t always able to quote him verbatim when asked to relay his vocal outbursts; but that was where the fun came into it. Everyone that asked me what he was talking about; got an answer that suited the situation and often brought cookies for my efforts and sometimes, a good old butt kicking for a bewildered sibling. Besides, it was far better that I rewarded him with cookies; not someone who could potentially undermine or change his allegiance to his protector and courageous mentor.

Oh no, not only did our mother make me give up my room to share it with my brother, but she also made a point of buying us matching clothes. Was I also expected to make him look good too? As far as the birds and I was concerned I did not appreciate having to look the same as my brother. So I had to change the dynamics and I could do that if I taught him dress sense. Things like how do his top shirt button up, put his shorts on back the front, and wear his undies inside out. He listened all the time; especially when I told him that no matter what, always wear his clothes this way. “If they change the way you wear your clothes, then change back again and always do it your way.” Sure there were times where in an effort to avoid potential punishment; he protested that Goggy made him do it, but they didn’t know what he was saying. They hadn’t even worked out that this cuckoo had a serious speech impediment; to them,he was just a slow learner.

For most of our early years, we didn’t even wear shoes; I don’t think we even owned any. We needed bare feet to grip the narrow sheep tracks that meandered around the 200 foot sheer cliffs of our island home. Besides, shoes would have been no good on cold mornings when we followed the winter ritual of squishing warm cow pats, while we picked mushrooms. When we finally got shoes, they didn’t fit anyway because after so long barefoot, our feet were pretty wide. I remember keeping the shoe boxes and convincing my brother that they were better than shoes. He put his feet into the shoe boxes and using belts; tied them in so the shoe boxes acted as shoes. Yep, he wore the boxes until they wore out and everyone just shok or scratched their heads over this strange boy. It would be far to say in looking back, that whenever he entered the room wearing shoe boxes on his feet, he looked like the village idiot, but he didn't care. He had developed a strong minded approach to his habits and unique personality.

No!!! We Don't Do That With....

We Act and Walk This Way...

Lesson Three: Learning Manners and Etiquette.

Eventually he was able to sit at the dinner table with the rest of us; as he had learned not to put his face in the food. On the day, our parents decided that this would be the perfect time to teach him manners and dining etiquette. What a fiasco; an absolute waste of time; I had already taught him! They tried to get him to hold his knife in his right hand and fork in the left, but I had already taught him to take a left handed approach to things. For a whole hour they tried to get him to say “Thank you,” but that was never going to happen because he just wouldn’t listen to them; he offered his own words for thank you which they refused to accept as perhaps they were in denial of his obvious impediment.

After we moved to the city, we had fixed chores to do and we got pocket money that was deducted from, if we were assessed as being lazy, naughty or disobedient. On Sundays we went to Church Sunday School and each had a small coin to contribute to the collection plate. My brother wasn't so dumb after all as he demonstrated to me one day after Church Sunday School. On the way home he wanted to stop at the shop and we did, only to find that he had a great deal of money with him to buy lollies and a coke. "How come," I asked. He told me that he really liked Sunday School becuse when they passed the collection plate to him to pass on, he put has small coin in and took several large coins out! Needless to say, he never missed church and always believed God had provided him with a stash of goodies.

Another contentious issue was that of his persistence in leaving the toilet seat up. No matter what, no one could convince him to put the seat down. Did I have any influence on that? Absolutely and in mitigation I contend that without such input, my younger sibling would not have developed and honed his unique sense of individuality.

Lesson Four: Playing Sport.

When we had lived on the island, each year the sheep multiplied and that meant we had lambs to mark and dock. This was our first introduction to ‘contact’ sport; the stuff that created heartland rugby and All Blacks greats. It involved running hard, side stepping and tackling the quick and elusive jumpers; hang on to them tight and make sure that you don’t get kicked in the face by their sharp hooves.

Marking the lambs was merely chalk staining their hind quarters with a colored mark denoting the lamb’s sex. A few weeks later, we did it all again but this time we had to apply rubber docking rings on their tails, so that after a few weeks their tails fell off. My brother wasn’t a tackler; we used him as a freckled obstacle that scared the lambs into a penned off area in the paddock.

Next season he was allowed to practice what he had learnt from his big brother. He turned into a really good lamb tackler. Forever the teacher, I told him that when he was old enough to play rugby, he would be a great player as long as he tackled everyone on the other side. A few years later, he was picked for the school rugby team. I got to watch him play his first game; with just bare feet and no boots, he showed the coach that he planned to be an All Black; by tackling everyone in the other team even though they didn’t have the ball.

Learning to learn.

Lesson Five: Girl Friends.

As his freckles started to disappear on entering adolescence, my brother started showing an interest in girls. By now he had spent a lot of time with a speech therapist who had miraculously trained him to communicate beyond grunts and Goggy language.

So now he wants advice from me on girls; okay let’s find out if you are as gullible as you used to be brother. Yep I told him what I knew, but I couldn’t resist the explanation of how important the first kiss is! I told him that most girls knew how much they liked a guy, by how well he kissed them and that they rate the kiss by how much the guy licked their face during the event.

Several weeks later my brother told me that he had been slapped in the face by a girl. When I asked him to tell me what had happened, he told me that things had been going really well until; she tried to kiss him and all he could do was to lick her all over her face! Slap. “So…. What did you do then?" I asked him. He told me that he was really embarrassed and walked away in case she slapped him again. “Oh no don’t ever do that mate. Slapping you is part of the game. You have to laugh and tell her that this is how the big guys do it! Don’t give up mate; they are all the same. If you do that to the next girl and she slaps you; it’s because she wants you to be her boyfriend!”

You know.. I've never trusted anyone in those Clown Shoes!

Thanks for reading this. If you enjoyed it then please rate it below.  Pearldiver.
Thanks for reading this. If you enjoyed it then please rate it below. Pearldiver.

I feel lucky to have a brother.

I hope the Five Lessons here have helped you condition the bond that can be created between a middle child and a younger sibling. When both parties appreciate the respective roles within the relationship; lifelong memories are developed. It doesn't need to be the type of relationship that spawns nightmares or insecurities. If the pecking order is established early in the peace; then the younger sibling will always know that they have to get up early, if they want to out-perform their older sibling.

As you can see, training your younger sibling can be a lot of fun. But a word of warning needs to be added here. If you follow the guidelines above, then expect similar favors to be returned to you. I say that from experience and from the fact that waking up from a sound sleep with a mouth full of live moths, is not a good way to wake. Yep, as they say; it's made round to go round and therefore expect to be paid back threefold for having provided such good advice.

On the upside in my case, I feel that the information that was given to my younger brother did help him later in life. Even though his dress sense remained incredibly bad; he was lucky enough to tackle a girl who clearly showed him how to lick his way through a relationship that produced two fine sons. The circle of life does not always repeat itself, but often comes very close. My brother's sons when young were very much like Goggy and the younger sibling. The younger of the two had blond hair, blue eyes and clear tanned skin. His older brother had pale skin, freckles and the same reddish hair that his father had at the same age. No middle child, only two siblings, both of whom dote on their dad and made great nephews for their uncle Goggy.

Being able to laugh at ourselves and appreciate a good practical played well on us, ensures that humor remains with us throughout life. But there is no way that I'm walking anywhere with my sibling while he wears Clown Shoes! They just fit so well!

I used to wonder why my younger brother grew through his hair early in his life and I did not suffer the same fate. After considering all the the lessons that he took into his stride while growing up; I am satisfied that I now know why! It is a pity that as an adult, he always throws away his new shoes and finds the boxes more comfortable though.

© Copyright 2009 - 2015 Art of the Diver with all rights reserved.


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    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Mekenzie, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this piece, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Gladly history didn't repeat itself as I'm sure one's environment has a lot to do with what kids do to entertain themselves and their interactions with siblings.

      I appreciate your kind words of support re my writing. I just write in the way that I feel would best interest me if I were the reader. Cheers for that.. you take care.

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 6 years ago from Michigan

      Enjoyed this peek into the dynamics between brothers. Hilarious! Poor little Bro.. looked up to Googy who led him into all kinds mischief. Is history repeating itself with your nephews?

      You are a creative and engaging writer, I enjoyed reading your hub!


    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Kims, thanks for reading this article and for your comment. I'm glad that you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope this has also helped you appreciate the true value of shoe boxes. Cheers.. you take care.

    • profile image

      kims3003 7 years ago

      I sure did enjoy this - you have a great writing style - great sense of humor too!

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hahaha.... I think that this potential aspect of elderly abuse could be well worth writing about... cheers for pointing out the loopholes in what very clearly needs to be an ongoing training commitment.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      smiles :)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi RTalloni, thanks for taking the time to read this work and for considering it from such an interesting and coldly accurate perspective! Yes well... Nice thought. I appreciate the many and varied illustrations of revenge that flash before my eyes.. (thank you very much!).. but I must say that they would be well foundered and I would also admit that I would Deserve every one of them except that daily dose of rat poison administered to my porridge! It is too late.. but I have a few marbles up my sleeve! Great observation :) You take care and cheers, I will make sure that I do also..

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      It sounds like you could be enough older than your brother that you might be in his care when you are in your dotage. You might like to take this confession down before it's too late. :)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hello Anonomous, Thanks for reading this work. I hope that you didn't take a negative context from this article. I do agree entirely with the need to be who you can be as an individual.. after all that is the journey that we each must face in life and death. That is our difference and uniqueness... a very precious jewel. Good on you.. never stop exploring that part of yourself and you will grow wise. Take Care.. be well.

    • profile image

      Anonomous 7 years ago

      My older sister is 23 and I am 14 and she has always told me to be myself no matter what and to be an Individual and I took her advice and I do think that I am a Individual, I also have 2 older brothers who are both 18 and they have taught me the same things as my sister did they have also encouraged me to think for myself and to things on my own and I do think for myself and figure things out on my own.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi gmwilliams, thanks for reading this tongue in cheek work and for your positive comment. You are absolutely correct, families and circumstances vary everywhere. The experiences that I have written about here were slightly different than usual, as we (as a family) were the sole inhabitants of a coastal island in NZ. - Paradise for the adult that I have since become. Life is like that isn't it?

      But yes... nothing wrong with flying solo... at many times, in the environment that I refer to here, I wished for such... Hahaha.. Believe Me! All the best.. take care, I'm glad you enjoyed my writing.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great hub! I am a happy and contented only. I had older cousins who further instructed me in the ways of life and mannerisms that my parents could not, although they performed an excellent job doing so. One does not always have to have siblings to give extra lessons from a youth viewpoints, there are close friends, especially if they are older, and cousins. Friends and cousins are viable also.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Pat, thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Of course every child is different and sadly many parents are unable to see situations though their child's eyes, as it requires giving up that authority that they try to maintain. It's funny how little things meant so much when viewed from that perspective. And always remember that what they say about Karma.... is true! Take Care.. cheers for reading this work.

    • Pat Abbott profile image

      Pat Abbott 7 years ago from Wales

      Great storytelling - I really enjoyed reading this!

      I wish I'd known some of this sooner though - I never taught my younger sister these lessons. Does that make me an irresponsible older sibling I wonder?

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi MJW, Thanks for taking the time to take the time. I'm not sure that all this works on girls mate! You only have a small window of opportunity to apply these techniques with girls, before they bring a boyfriend home who is far bigger than you! They tend to mature earlier than boys.. so good luck and watch the upper cut. Take care.

    • MJ Wadsworth profile image

      MJ Wadsworth 7 years ago from US

      Good read. I'd apply some of your insight with regard to my sister but she's got kinda tall now. Still my little sis and all that but less of the little these days. She always was untrainable though. Women.

      Oh yeah, she needn't bother with boyfriends either. Already made that one clear :)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 7 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Sally's Trove, thanks for reading this work and your kind comments. Well yep they don't come with instructions and if you ask the parents, they are always likely to make them feel special and fuss over them.. like they deserve it or something! I think in hindsight that I was trying to teach Resiliance.. Take Care.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      What a great read! What I know about boys, being an only child raised by women and having an only daughter, wouldn't cover the back of a gnat. I laughed all the way through. I'm torn between the shoe boxes and the face-licking for the biggest laughs. Your training techniques seem sound to me!

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Maita, thanks for reading this and your comments. Yep there seems to be an obligation to entertain younger brothers all over the world. In many respects it is a good day when they gain their own 'shadow' and free you of that obligation lol. Take Care and have a great new year PrettyDH.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      LOL, this one is very nice indeed Rob, as if when you have a younger brother you are obliged to entertain them, and in my culture you should always give in to what they like too even of you like that toy as well

      I like the humour as usual,

      Have a good day, Maita

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Anamika. Always pleased to have you read my works. Thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule, to do so. I think rivalry occurs with most family units in one way or another. Cheers for calling by, take care.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 8 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Nice Hub dear. There was a lot of rivalry between me and my brother when we were small kids. But once we reached high school we became close to each other and even knew each others secrets.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Oh sorry Candie... I was referring to parents rather than the sibling! I will adopt you if you like?? Lol. But I don't know how to get out of Bumble Town, with my shirt. lol

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      LOL, unfortunately, my sister and I are "oil and water".. total opposites.. so for now, no relationship since I'm not allowed to have any opinions other than hers.. LOL!! Oh, well.. Here's to "adoption!"

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Thanks Candie - yep parents are funny like that aren't they? The thing is that in the end you often end up keeping them and actually becoming pleased you did though.

      My family found it easier to ditch me!! Hahaha.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 8 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Great hub PD! I tried to get my parents to return my sister, but they wouldn't either. Shame.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Birte, Thank you for that and for enjoying this story. Hope things are going well for you Birte. Take care & cheers for taking the time to call in.

    • BirteEdwards profile image

      BirteEdwards 8 years ago

      Pearl, dear, it was so clear from early that you would bond and love that younger brother of yours. Wonderful way of telling the story of two brothers. You have such a great way of telling stories

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Thanks UW for reading my work, for calling in and for your kind comments. I hope your older sibling did not do that shoe box routine on you lol. Glad you enjoyed this.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      That was a wonderful story. I'm the youngest in my family so it was good to hear the perspective of an older sibling.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Wordscribe, Thank you for reading my work and your kind comments. Hello to Portland.. your weather has to be warmer than here atm (-03)so I'm off to a slow start that's for sure. You probably have your child mix pretty right, as it looks from one of your pics that the twins are a couple of hard cases. (funny guys) Look forward to your work too. Take care.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi SweetiePie, Thank you for your positive input and comments. I'm sure I can relate to your sister and I think being in the middle certainly does have positive benefits overall.. but of course that opinion is biased slightly lol.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Earnest, Thanks for your positive input. I'm glad you enjoyed this; it was my pleasure writing it. Cheers for calling in.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Thanks TOF.... The Trevs are good mate... Cheers for asking. They are staying at Nigel and Neville's place atm.

      Take care Peter mi m8. Cheers for calling in.

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      Excellent hub, Pearldiver. Fascinating topic to me. I have a pair of twins and an older daughter. Birth order is kinda messed up in this house, really. You are a very talented writer, I am always amazed with what you come up with! Good luck in the challenge, see you in the forums. Hello to NZ.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      My little sister would like this one since she is the middle child. She told me she was always left out and I got more attention, and so did my youngest sister. I think that is all perception though because now that she is the only one living near my mom they do more things together. My littlest sister is actually jealous of this and wants my mom to spend more time with her. I am the oldest and sort of baffled by all this, and tell my mom do whatever makes my younger sisters happy.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      That was well thought out and a good fun read. Thanks!

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 8 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Yeah, great Fred, hows Trev, Trev, Trev and Trev?

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Thanks KCCBC....... I'm pretty sure at times this younger one would have liked to have been the only one too! Lol.

      Glad you enjoyed it.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      What a great story! I'm an only child so I find it fascinating to hear how those with siblings do it.


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