Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Where do you come in the family line-up?

In a study done recently by Oxford University, 3,500 12-years olds were quizzed on whether or not they had been bullied by a sibling, and if so - how often.   How did they define 'bullied' - physically
hurt, ostracised, ignored, the subject of lies, rumours, and deliberately hurtful remarks.   At the age of 18 these same 3,500 were quizzed again.   In the original study around 800 of the children had said they had been bullied and when quizzed at 18 these 800 were twice as likely to be clinically depressed compared with the non-bullied ones.   Girls were more likely to have been the victims.

I sat down and thought about it.  I am the youngest of three (two others died in infancy long before I was born).  My sister was twenty-two years older than me (same parents) and was married before I was a year old.  I obviously wasn't bullied by her but I do remember being resentful of her in various ways.   For example, all my friends at school had tennis rackets, my parents couldn't afford one at the time, so I had to borrow my sister's.   Once, at a vital time (match of some sort), I couldn't play because she needed her racket, so I had to drop out.   I still remember that I somehow felt the need to lie about the reason so that I hid the fact that it wasn't my racket.

There were many other occasions, all of them equally petty.   But I do know that throughout my life I had a much easier relationship with my brother (11 years older), who I adored.

Being a parent myself didn't present those problems as I only had one child, but it is hard for parents not to categorise their children as 'the pretty one', 'the clever one' and so on, even if they are all loved equally.

This thinking came as a result of an article by Stephanie Smith in today's Yorkshire Post and also in the light of the news that there is to be a new Royal sprog.   It is all too easy to look at the Royal family over the last few generations and see the differences.

The Queen, who has been the most wonderful Monarch (whether you are a Royalist or not you have to agree on this) was, I understand, brought up in a different manner from her sister, Princess Margaret.  Her Majesty was groomed for the role, which she has fulfilled for so long, from being a small child.   Prince Charles has always seemed so much more serious than his siblings, yet underneath one can catch glimpses of the fun chap he probably is.  This is emphasised in the fact that Princes William and Harry seem to have had so much freer and happier a life - both obviously have great affection for one another.   And when Harry was asked yesterday how he felt about slipping one place down the line of succession, he said 'great' and I am sure he meant it.

Where do you come in the line of your family?   Were you bullied?  Or were you the bully?   Or was everything in the garden lovely?

On a completely different subject - I had my eyes tested yesterday and I need new specs.   When I was choosing the new frames I picked up some red frames with purple sides - 'I rather like these', I said to the optician. He laughed - 'those are really teenagers' frames' he said.   That decided me - I am having them!

19 comments:

Lucy Corrander at Loose and Leafy said...

I heard Prince Harry being questioned like that too and thought it was a bit 'off'.

Yea! Go for the brightly coloured spectacles!

Amy said...

I'm the oldest in my line of siblings and I've always hated it because I felt like I was the one going through everything first, kind of like the guinea pig. Was scary doing this when I was growing up.

Cro Magnon said...

I have one older sister, but we were always away at school anyway. After school we both lived in London, and hardly ever saw each other. Then she moved to NZ. So, no bullying.

George said...

Very interesting post, Pat. I was the older of two sons. My mother always referred to me as "the good son," while my younger brother was frequently reminded that he was the "troublemaker." I've always felt that was terribly unfortunate, inaccurate, and unfair.

Elizabeth said...

The glasses sound very glam!

I was the younger of two and my brother was vile to me. Locked me in cupboards, tied me up etc etc.
The-boys-next-door had to intercede with him to allow me to join in their games...

One thing that makes me really happy is that my grandchildren eem to adore weach other - around valentine's day
Henry to Gretchen: will you be my valentine?
Gretchie: No, I am your best friend.

Philip said...

I'm number 6 out of 10. We all got along very well and still do. We all still see each other regularly and altogether at Christmas.

Heather said...

Your new specs sound great - that's one in the eye for your optician!!
I was an only child but grew up with lots of cousins, one 10 years older the rest all younger and I don't remember any bullying among us. However, when my husband's job took him away all week and he only came home at weekends I can remember coming last in the queue to be greeted by him, after four small children and the dog! Perhaps I should have clamoured more energetically!

jinxxxygirl said...

I'am the youngest of three , having two much older brothers....I do not ever remember being bullied by them , though i was bullied in school......It was 11th grade before i figured out how to stand up for myself...Hugs! deb

Joanne Noragon said...

My new specs were purple.

I wish I understood more about bullying. I watch it in the grandchildren and don't know how to stop it. I even call it "passing it down;" the oldest bullies the next who in turn and so on to the youngest, who acts out in other ways. It's been one of my biggest challenges.

Pondside said...

Interesting topic, and timely for me, as my daughter was only yesterday asking about bullying. She is 7 years younger than her brother and there was no bullying, but she was worried that if her children were closer in age there might be some rivalry that would become worse. I maintain that it is up to parents to watch for this - to not allow such behaviour. It's not easy, but it's part of the job.
I am the first of four - two younger sisters and a much younger brother. I have to say that it was hard to be held back from activities because of being too young, only to watch my younger siblings engage in all the same activities at progressively younger ages!

donna baker said...

I can't go back that far - too much happened. But, my sister and I are very close. By the way, I love the rose hip header. I saw a necklace once with rose hips strung together like a string of pearls. It was quite beautiful.

Tom Stephenson said...

My oldest sister adored me like a doll, and my brother hated me for an intruder.

Being 16 stone, six foot five and 8 years older than me - the brother, not the sister - my life could be difficult.

angryparsnip said...

I have a pair of black "nerd" glasses for work, violet sunglasses and bright red frames with black sides for everyday.

Go for it !

cheers, parsnip

Terry and Linda said...

YES! Brightly colored is for us older folks also!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

josephinaballerina said...

Pat, you rock! You MUST post a photo of you in your new glasses when you get them!

As for siblings, I have one brother who is 12 ½ years older. We have always loved each other very much. Our mother brought us up to love each other. I was in my twenties before I fully realized that this is not always the case.







Gwil W said...

Pat, I hope you enjoy your new teenage specs! Keep us posted: i.e. what they all make of them at the next senior citizens coffee morning. Stunning reaction or frowns?

The Weaver of Grass said...

A photograph of me in the new glasses will be posted as soon as I get them. For the price they are going to be they ought to be gold plated!
Thanks for the comments and the info.

MorningAJ said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree over the Queen. Personally I blame her for the mess of Charles and Diana's marriage. (And other things!) As for bullying. I wasn't bullied by my sibling but my mother managed to turn both of us into depressives by playing us off against each other. Philip Larkin knew his stuff!

Nib's End said...

"When I am old I shall wear purple..." We have a Red Hat Society in the States where whole hosts of women over fifty dress up in red and purple and kick up their heels and abandon themselves to frivolity.