Siblings & Big Age Differences

I recently spent a few days observing (and camping with) two sisters with a significant age difference. One is 15 years old, the other is 5.

No one can argue, ten years is a big age difference. One is thinking about boys and the other thinks they have cooties. One is fairly independent, the other needs helping cutting the crust off her sandwiches. One likes to listen to music and hang out with friends, the other prefers to color in her Strawberry Shortcake coloring book.

What do they have in common? Parents. Shared family vacations/traditions, similiar looks, a history and a long future together.

In the morning, they disagreed on the proper way to fish. They got in each other’s way a few times and there was some eye rolling for sure but fast forward 6 hours later, when the younger sister is on an inflatable tube which is tied to a speeding boat. We hit a wave and for a moment there it looked like little sis’ was surely going to be thrown into the lake. If voices could be sirens, the older sis’ was one. I had to pull her down back into her seat for fear she’d go overboard. She was hysterical at the thought that her lil sister would be lost at sea. (A slight exaggeration but still…her sister was appropriately scared!) Bottom line, these sisters care about each other deeply. Occassional squabbles happen – its part of life but when the chips are down, they have each other’s back .

I recently read an article Big Sister, Little Sister – the Benefits of Having a Wider Age Gap Between Siblings which lists the positive sides of this equation (more time to save for college for the younger sister, no fighting over toys)

I also came across a post where a mom was saying she was nervous that her children were going to be 10 years apart and she feared they wouldn’t be close. Not so! Of the dozens and dozens of comments, nearly all the parents said the age gap worked to their advantage. One woman wrote: “I am 12.5 years older than my sister and we are VERY close. She is able to come to me with problems that she didn’t feel comfortable going to my mom with. It’s different, we never really had sibling rivalry, but after my mom had her, I remember asking my mom for more siblings!”

Do you have children with large age gaps? What was good about it? What was the challenge? Please share it with us!

– Heather

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