Older teens set many examples for their younger siblings, and they don’t always realize it. Growing up with brothers or sisters affects your life in ways you might not think of, including socially and emotionally.
The things little ones learn from older teens follow them through their life. Younger siblings often want to be like their teenage role models, watching everything they do or say. They don’t have the life experience of a teenager, so they pick up every bit they can to learn about the world.
Older teens have a separate life full of responsibilities, stress, and extracurricular activities. However, the time they spend with the younger ones is meaningful. The younger siblings watch older teens learn about life and how to handle things.
Little ones want their older sibling’s attention, and it sometimes comes across as annoying. Older teens might view their younger brothers or sisters as a source of noisy chaos, preferring to seek solitude. However, understanding older teens’ examples can encourage them to spend time together.
What the Experts Say About Older Teens Setting Examples for Little Siblings
Siblings affect one another’s lives and development just like parents affect their child’s life. They contribute to each other’s lives in cognitive, emotional, and social ways. Experts indicate that when siblings communicate and interact without direct parental supervision, it offers opportunities to shape one another’s lives.
Examples Older Teens Set for Little Siblings
1 – Doing Well in School
When siblings feel emotionally connected, they’re more likely to achieve similar education levels. Older teens can influence their younger siblings to do well in school. When the younger ones see their role model doing their best academically, it can lead to similar achievements.
Research indicates that the more time siblings spend together makes them more likely to mimic one another academically. On the other hand, when they don’t bond often, they differ in this regard.
2 – Self-care
Older siblings can set a self-care example for younger ones in many ways. When they care for their physical hygiene, the little sibling is likelier to do the same. This situation includes washing up, brushing their teeth, and taking care of their hair.
Older teens can also set self-care examples by caring for their mental health. Processing emotions and talking about problems with a trusted person shows the younger sibling that it’s a healthy coping method.
3 – Developing a Sense of Self-Worth
Teenagers can help their younger siblings build self-esteem by setting a good example. If the teen focuses on being positive about who they are, their sibling is more likely to be the same way.
Teenagers can also help their siblings develop a positive sense of self-worth through how they treat and talk to them. When they don’t criticize their sibling, it can help the little one feel better about who they are. Some of the other things a teen can do to help their sibling develop a sense of self-worth include:
- not pointing out faults
- appreciating their qualities
- giving compliments
- helping them believe in themselves
- inspire them to do their best
4 – Language Development
Younger siblings pick up the things that the older ones say. Teens can set an example for the little ones by being conscious of what they say.
Using descriptive words can help younger siblings develop their language skills and explain things better. Plus, they can teach the little ones to use their words instead of getting angry or upset.
5 – Being Thoughtful When Others Are Busy
Older teenagers often become annoyed by their younger brothers or sisters when they interrupt. However, if teens know they can help influence the little one, they might change their tune.
Explaining to the little sibling that they’re busy and asking kindly for quiet time can make a difference. They can also give the little one some work to stay occupied. This situation can teach the younger child to be thoughtful when others are busy working on something.
6 – Using Manners
When younger children see their older siblings using manners, they’ll be more likely to do the same. Hearing someone they look up to being polite influences good manners. They can also set the example of being respectful to others and treating people with courtesy.
7 – Working Hard to Reach Their Dreams
Little ones look up to the teenagers in their life, and it’s the perfect chance to teach them to work hard. When teenagers work hard to chase their dreams, the little ones in their life will want to.
The teenagers can set an example and talk to the younger ones about their dreams. It can help the younger ones think about how they want their life to look, giving them options to explore.
8 – Teaching Them That Everyone is the Same
Older siblings can help the little ones understand that everyone should get treated equally. Treating everyone the same sets a positive example for the younger ones.
9 – Sharing
While older teenagers don’t always want to share with the younger ones, they can influence them. Telling the teen how they can impact their siblings in this way can help your teen want to do better. They can set the example that sharing is good and makes everyone involved feel good.
10 – Standing Up for Themselves
No one should let others mistreat them. Standing up for yourself is essential in these situations. When older teens stand up for themselves, it teaches the younger ones to do the same.
11 – Empathy
Older siblings can help those who look up to them learn empathy. They can show the little ones that it’s important to put themselves in someone else’s shoes sometimes. The younger ones can learn empathy sooner than their peers when they have a role model to look up to.
12 – Coping with Emotions
Everyone experiences negative emotions, and it’s best to learn how to cope with them early on. When little ones see their older sibling cope with them, it teaches them how to handle them. They can pick up positive coping methods, helping them deal with hardship.
Younger siblings can learn to handle hardship positively as they build faith in their older sibling’s ability to cope. They will feel confident handling hardship and know they can reach out to their older sibling if necessary. It’s a positive support system outside of the parents, allowing them to know they have another person they can turn to.
13 – Getting Along with Others and Social Interactions
Siblings give one another the first chance to learn how to get along with others. An older teen can teach the younger ones to get along with others and experience positive social interaction. When a teen knows the little ones are watching, they will be more mindful of how they get along with their friends.
How an Older Teen Can Bond with Their Little Sibling
Little ones crave attention from older teenagers in their families. They admire and want to spend time with them, no matter what. Teenagers don’t always realize how much the younger ones want to impress them, and it can be helpful to remind them.
The younger ones will often do whatever they can to gain the attention of the older ones. Sometimes it comes across as annoying, and finding ways for them to bond can be helpful. Some ideas for a teenager to engage with their younger sibling include:
- staying connected by having phone calls when the teen can’t be physically present
- reading them a story
- going on a walk
- watching their magic show or dance routine
- listening to their jokes
- being enthused about their artwork
- hugging and cuddling them
- complimenting them
- having a snack together
- going to their sports or school events
- play a game together
Other Ways Parents Can Help Older Teenagers Bond with Little Ones
Parents can encourage the tips mentioned above, but there are more ways to encourage teens to bond with their younger siblings. You can help your children prioritize healthy sibling relationships by making it clear that you expect them to think of one another.
One way to do this is by teaching your children to think about their sibling’s points of view. It can encourage them to appreciate what their sibling wants or needs. You can teach them that there are other perspectives within the family unit.
Another option is to set an example of positive conflict resolution and speak well about one another. You can also encourage your children to resolve problems amongst themselves without stepping in unless necessary.
Final Thoughts on Examples Older Teens Set for Little Siblings
Older teenagers are a big part of their little sibling’s life, even if it doesn’t seem that way. The younger ones look up to the teens and want their attention. They also often want to be like their older sibling because they look up to them as role models.
Teaching teens that their younger siblings look up to them can help encourage healthy relationships. You can also clarify your expectations about how they should treat one another. When your children bond despite the age difference, everyone can benefit.