Ask Angela: My parents aren't raising my younger siblings the same way they raised me

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Mormon Book Worm ----------, UT
    April 20, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    I feel you. I find that talking to them doesn't really help. Just hope for the best, I guess. People change as they age. And parenting techniques change. Especially if you're the oldest. I got my iPod at the same time as two of my younger siblings, and I didn't think it was fair.

  • MrsH Altamont, UT
    Nov. 7, 2013 10:18 a.m.

    Sorry, I have no advice, but I hope the person who originally wrote in for advice reads these comments.
    There were some good points made.
    I think most of them were better than Angela's advice!

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Nov. 6, 2013 4:14 p.m.

    With eight years between me (the oldest) and my sister (the youngest) of five, I know there were not only differences in what each did, but, when we thought about it, who our parents were. Mom went back to an outside job later; that was different for some sibs. I left home after a year at college, work, and college away, to live on my own. Our parents were older, other siblings grew up, and my sister, once surrounded by a houseful of big people, became an "only child", after a fashion. I had always been told that, as the oldest, I had to be an example, so when my own oldest complained about his siblings "following" him around, I really connected. I didn't give him the "example" talk, instead suggesting that, since they were going to follow him anyway, he do things he wanted them to copy. I also let him know I felt his pain. My parents did what they did I. And for the record, neither one was the oldest child.

  • Kazbert VAIL, AZ
    Nov. 6, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    Parenting often changes over time for a variety of reasons. In raising my children I continually felt like I was on a steep learning curve. Just when I thought I had it all figured out my children would enter some new phase of development and I had to learn anew how to respond. Plus all my children have distinct personalities/needs. Rules the parents held to strongly at first they may later perceive as not as important.

    The parents’ wealth likely does increase over time, and that can lead to some unintended disparities. If the parents provide each child with the best they could at the time, then they are, philosophically, all being treated the same.

    As for unsolicited advice, we have all seen some kind of poor behavior and wished “someone” would say something. There is no easy answer, but I think Latter-day Saints have very poor conflict resolution skills. We outwardly behave peaceable while silently stewing in our frustrations. Community values can’t be taught if we think no one’s actions should have any kind of social consequences.

  • Mark Evans Palmdale, CA
    Nov. 5, 2013 9:18 p.m.

    Great article, one of your best. Much Thanks

  • TiCon2 Cedar City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    As the oldest in my family, I have found it helpful on multiple occasions to give my perspective on what a sibling is going through that I also went through less than 5 years ago. The conversations were never meant to be advisory, and I never gave ultimatums to my parents about their children.

    Thankfully, my parents welcomed my insight into a situation that they may not have fully comprehended because of age, communication breakdowns, willful blindness to a situation they didn't want to happen, etc.

    Instead of preaching to the preacher, as Angela wisely recommends we not do, give your two cents on how the siblings might be feeling and what you feel helped you grow into the person you have become. This particular scenario might not warrant your involvement, but don't turn off communication entirely.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Nov. 5, 2013 7:36 a.m.

    I thought only people of grandparent age said back in my day. Probably not. But there seems to be some generational superiority or moral decline. Thing is that is selective memory and people for centuries even millenia have been saying how much worse it is now than when they were growing up. Selective memory I think. Every generation had challenges, lazy people and criminals. It's not just the one we are in.

  • Hamath Omaha, NE
    Nov. 5, 2013 6:35 a.m.

    I usually agree with Angela. Not here. I think that approaching your parents about issues like this can be done in such a way that is not condescending but still helpful . The author of this letter sounds like a person who tempers her or his approaches to criticism. A well tempered "Mom, Dad, I'm worried about some attitudes that I see in my siblings... [explaining attitudes]... what can I do to help?" could allow you to gage how interested and willing they are to talk about the issues, which they may have seen too. It could lead naturally to a conversation in which you could say your suggestions to what the parents themselves could do.

    Nov. 4, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    Is there any chance you could get your family--the entire family--involved in a carefully planned family history activity, without referencing your concerns? That alone could do wonders for bonding the family, helping your younger siblings get a different viewpoint on life. You may not have LDS pioneer ancestry. But even so, exposing oneself to those who have previously tread life's pathways, with all its vicissitudes and joys, can change the course of a person's own life. I've had history students who had their eyes opened just by interviewing an older person who went through a war, the depression, or even the so-called good times of the '50's and '60's (they had their own problems and challenges--think Cold War, Segregation, Juvenile Delinquency, and the like.) Review Elder Bednar and Elder Scotts comments on this in recent general conferences. Guaranteed to help!

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Have you ever seen that blue eyed blond hair little boy running down the isle, his mom chasing him as that little boy laughing trying to make it to the front of the room before his angry mother grabbed him by the shirt. That was me. I'm the youngest, the baby in the family. I know what it's like to have bossy big sisters that wouldn't let me leave the table until I finished my plate of macaroni that has been leftovers for three mills. My be your parents think that your little brothers and sisters get too much from the older kids.

  • jans Pickerington, OH
    Nov. 4, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    I tell people that I feel like I am a better parent with my youngest child than I was with my oldest - I made improvements every year, with every child. As parents, we feel like we were too strict with the oldest children, though we have a good relationship with all of them. We also are very honest with our children that contary to popular opinion there is not "one rule to rule them all" but that we will make deteminations on what each child is allowed to do based on their needs, their personalities, their maturity, their honesty, their responsibility.

    I was the 7th of 10 children and my oldest sister had a hard time watching us grow up a little different than she did - we were always poor but our parents changed their parenting the more kids they had and they learned new things.

  • GeoMan SALEM, OR
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    As the youngest child, I don't have much to offer from my family growing up. My teenage years were pretty free of drama. As the husband of an oldest child, I've had the chance to observe the shifting parenting phenomena as an intimate spectator. I think that it is an issue that more parents would do well to be more mindful of. Having said that, I'm now old enough that my own children are leaving the nest. I know that there are things we are doing differently, but it is because of lessons that we've learned over the years.
    Unfortunately for the younger kids, our financial situation is worse (poorer) than it was pre-2008 and thus part of the problem is the opposite of what both the letter writer and a commenter here are facing.
    One would hope that one's parenting would get better with practice. Sadly, this isn't always the case.

  • Jace the Ace Stratford, CA
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Don't do it!!! I noticed the same thing with my younger siblings and it wasn't just the material things. It was also what they were allowed to do that I was not allowed to do when I still lived at home. I was out on my own, working, married with a child and still felt like they were in some cases trying to micromanage what I did with my life and still do in some cases 15+ years later today.

    We were out at dinner one night when we were visiting them and once again a younger sibling was allowed to do something that I would never have been allowed to do. Well I opened my big mouth and said something to point out the disparity in treatment and it got ugly. My wife and I ended up packing up our stuff and driving the 3.5 hours home late that night because it was so bad. So the best option is to say nothing.

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    Wow. Very well said. Who could disagree?

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Nov. 4, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    Sound advice. We struggle with the same concerns as parents. One married, one on mission, 2 teenagers left at home, more money now than we ever had. Hopefully we get it right.

    Nov. 4, 2013 7:56 a.m.

    "It doesn’t matter if your approaching your neighbor"

    unsolicited advice - "you're approaching" is better.