Older Sisters Change Siblings' Lives

Study shows that older sisters, not brothers, influence the competitive activities of younger siblings.
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That was the headline in an NPR story this morning. My ears perked up as I’m always intrigued by studies like this, especially since I’m the oldest sister. It’s social science, which is just really interesting to me. Study shows that older sisters, not brothers, really influence the competitive activities of younger siblings.

Two theories: Older sisters push younger sisters to be more competitive and get attention of their parents, where as younger brothers of older sisters tend to be less competitive than men who do not have younger sisters. No real details were shared as to why this is the case, so I’m going to theorize.

1. Women are fierce.

For some reason, when it comes to sisters or even moms or women in the workplace, there’s this competition to be better than the other. I’m not sure if it stems from some sort of innate female drive to be stronger to take care of our young or simply years of cllimbing up in society to achieve recognized status for the awesomeness women bring to the world. Sometimes, however, I think the competion stems from lack of confidence and this sense of having to prove themselves. Whatever it is, there is something that drives women to be competitive with each other.

2. Women are nurturers … especially with men.

Now I’m really going out on limb here and I know many will disagree with this, but for some reason I sense that some females tend to coddle males more. It may be a male child (“Momma’s boys”) or can even be a husband, and perhaps a younger brother – make that particularly a younger brother. I’m certainly not saying we all do it nor do it all the time, but you know you’ve seen it. It’s again that innate drive to take care of something. It’s primal, and it’s also nurtures that need for approval for some women.

3. Sisters.

I am an older sister to a sister. I don’t feel like I pushed my younger sister to be more competitive, but I must say she has a competitive spirit, more than me. With that spirit, she gets things done too. If she vied for attention because of me and that somehow subconsciously pushed her to be the awesomeness she is today, well I’m happy to have had a hand in that.

But overall, I wish for all women to look inside themselves and see how awesome they are for who they are. Don’t try to be the mom next door. Be you, embrace your quirks, strengths and weaknesses and walk with confidence. I hope that’s what the next generation of sisters (and brothers) can learn from their moms.