The grass is always greener.
Only children want siblings. Siblings want to be only children. There is no winning.
But both sides come with lessons and lifestyles unknown to the other. And siblings seem to have a leg up on little things, here and there.
Children in multi-sibling households, what lessons did you learn that the only child might never get?
Here were some of those answers.
Win One To Lose One
When you're getting food in the middle of a show, carry the TV remote with you.
But you have to accept that you will lose the favored chair. No way around that one.
EDIT: Lots of comments about saving the chair. "quack quack seat back" and "fives". Ha, not in my fam, fam.
"quack quack seat back, I get the chair back"
Get back, someone in the chair.
"Mom, Dad, I called quack, quack"
"SHUT UP AND SOLVE IT YOURSELVES!!"
As the oldest child: because you get there first for everything, you may be punished more or less severely than your siblings for the same offense. This will piss off every other sibling.
Also there is an unspoken code of "if the parents weren't home when *object* broke, nobody saw it break." They'll try to prisoner's dilemma all of the kids. The more expensive and/or difficult to replace the object, the less any of the kids saw anything. Even if it could be proved that everyone was in the room when the item broke, nobody saw it happen. Why? Because this time you're covering for your sibling. Next time they will cover for you. It is a bond that will only be broken once, because if it does break the next time the kids are alone the snitch is gonna get it real good
Building The Bonds
I have a bunch of brothers. My dad early on would punish you if caught in the wrong, but if you were tattling you got double. So instead of telling on each other we worked together to stay out of trouble.
It made my mom mad when she demanded who did something. She would threaten to punish all of us if one of us didn't confess. We all maintained our silence and accepted mass punishment. Afterwards, me and my brothers would talk over how we got caught, what mistakes were made and how to avoid it in the future.
To this day we are all very close, and though we are all scattered around the world, we still talk 3-4 times a week.
How to act completely ignorant of what happened. "Where was your sister?" Mom asks. I say, "I don't know, I was asleep in my room the whole night." In reality, I was awake playing videogames with a walkie talkie keeping tabs on her the whole time and letting her know when I hear anything downstairs and I told her to come home when I heard our mom go to the bathroom, so she'd be in the yard when mom went looking.
The art of blackmail.
Comradery and having tons of time to hatch plans and build stuff.
Learning to deal with and enjoy people you don't choose to be around because you don't pick your siblings or their personalities.
Machiavelli Is Watching This Guy From Somewhere
Speaking as an older brother, you bully the younger ones to keep them in line. But you also protect them from other bullies because they're a valuable resource - they'll have your back if you have theirs. They can back you up in a fight, back your story up to the parents, take a share of the blame, and are pretty reliable if you need some minor thing taken care of. It's basically gang leadership 101 - managing your street level guys loyalty without letting them get ambitious enough to try to take you out.
Edit: and of course, you also protect them because you love them. Figured that was understood, forgot to add it. It's not all cold utilitarian logic. Just some.
I Just Wanted The Marbles, Man
It doesn't matter what YOU want to do!
So many only-child friends seemed to dictate the entire household. If kid wanted to go to the beach, they went to the beach. I didn't even get to pick whether I wanted McDonalds or Burger King for dinner- my mom was picking which one she wanted so she didn't have to listen to us bicker.
Also, if your younger brother eats random things, you aren't allowed to have marbles in the house. Doesn't matter that you're not some moron who eats inedible objects, your brother is a moron, so you suffer.
Nothing like rallying your siblings to your side when you have a common enemy (normally mom) and then negotiating the distribution of the result of your efforts.
Am the only girl and the baby. Set me up well for my career negotiating with angry dudes all the time.
Tommy...Michael...Gus...Whatever Your Name Is!
My parents couldn't keep the names straight between us, so I got called my sister's name, the dog's name, the neighbor's kids name...
They'd also combine our names so when they called us they were somewhat right all the time.
God bless, they're good parents though.
Edit: I love reading everyone's stories and am so glad we can share this experience together!!
How To Push But Not Push Away
How to argue without going for the jugular. I'm oldest of four and we could argue, scrap and wrestle without causing much damage no matter how angry we were.
Even now, we'll disagree but get over it immediately without being hurtful. You need that skill to survive in a family and indeed, the world. My ex was an only child without cousins and was horrified by fighting of any kind, but when he did get into it he was the nastiest, cruelest most vicious person.
He'd say some truly awful things without seeming to realise he'd have to live with these people or in that community after the dust settled. He never learned to play fight or about boundaries and was unable to understand our sons rough and tumble. He'd Wade into any kind of light-hearted, laughing wrestling and stamp it out. It took me forever to teach him that all children need to learn how to argue and even physically scrap in order to learn boundaries and respect for each other and themselves.
Whose Problem Is It Anyway?
When "You can hit me back!" is not effective, you have gone too far and actually owe an apology. Or you've created a manipulative psychopath, in which case you owe an apology to the world.
You actually won't know which it is for years.
People Explain Which Fictional Characters Should Have Been Slapped With A Lawsuit At The End Of The Story
My favorite movie of all time is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That movie slaps, aside from the presence of the evil Grandpa Joe. But I can't help but think of the number of lawsuits that would've taken place after the movie. Despite the fact that Wonka had all of the kids in his factory sign a contract, there definitely would've been a legal case involved after a kid almost drowned in a chocolate river, right?
Luckily, I'm not the only one who speculates the legalities of fictional universes. Thanks to Reddit, we can have discussions like this without looking like a weirdo at every party you go to. Because trust me, most drunk people don't want to hear about your Golden Ticket conspiracy theories. Trust me.
Why is it that most children’s movies come with some truly awful adult characters? They would’ve been the first to be slapped with a lawsuit.
I feel like this goes for most superheroes.
"The Power Rangers, they're a paramilitary group and are (almost) never officially sanctioned to operate by their relevant municipalities. They cause massive amounts of destruction from their fights and by not warning anyone about the enemies they battle."
The poor Baudelaires.Why Do You Hate Us So Much Neil Patrick Harris GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"Pretty much every adult in A Series of Unfortunate Events."
"Given that the in universe legal system of ASOUE allows a man to marry his adopted 13-year-old daughter, coerced by a threat to her baby sister's life, under the guise of a fraudulent play, presided over by a judge unaware she is acting in an official capacity, and absolute none of this legally invalidates that marriage and the only thing that saved Violet was a loophole that a signature doesn't count if written with one's non-dominant hand, I don't have high hopes for the Baudelaires in civil court."
Do you feel it, Mr. Krabs?
"It's still running but, I can only imagine all the labor laws Mr. Krabs has broken."
Patrick- I can get my award working for Mr. Krabs
Spongebob- Yeah and at $50 dollars an hour. When I started working here, I had to pay Mr. Krabs $100 dollars an hour.
I always thought it meant Patrick was being paid that much until I realized what it really meant.
Hogwarts was a death trap.
"Vernon Dursley from Harry Potter. Child abuse, both verbally and possibly physically."
"Also, Hogwarts would have been sued I'm certain by multiple parents on multiple occasions if it were an option in the Wizarding world. That place is a security nightmare! (credit, mugglecast for fully convincing me that security nightmare is an accurate description)."
"Cerberus chilling in a closet, basilisk wandering the pipes, ferocious textbooks that can bite, dementors wandering around, very questionable teachers including a host to Voldemort, a death eater on polyjuice, a werewolf (despite that he was a good teacher), and a ministry official that used physical (permanently scarring) punishment on students. Totally acceptable place to send your kids every year, for sure."
Weird, the movies you loved without question as a kid kinda shift your perspective as you get older.
That deleted scene would’ve helped with context.shocked jurassic park GIFGiphy
"John Hammond from Jurassic Park. His legal team would spare no expense."
"From memory, there's a deleted scene from The Lost World: Jurassic Park where that happens. It's a boardroom discussion about payouts to the families of the workers who died and to the British family that accidentally stumbled upon Isla Sorna. Because of it, the board agrees to sack Hammond and make Ludlow head of Ingen with immediate effect. Ludlow then comes up with a plan to get their money back by opening up the park in San Diego using dinosaurs from Isla Sorna. Come to think of it removing that scene kind of removes a ton of context from the rest of the film."
Hell, I wanna sue this movie for messing me up.
"The dude who ran the Truman Show"
"Funny that movie was on tv and I just watched it again. Truman would have been able to sue for hundreds of millions. Then the money and fame would get to him. I think Truman would have had a mental breakdown after leaving. He would have been one of the most famous people ever. He wouldn't understand the hounding, everyone using him wanting him to do business with them."
"Everyone knowing every single intimate detail about you. Trying to come to terms it was all fake. He would be extremely paranoid his entire life and have a complete existential crisis"
Different rules for the John Hughes universe.
"Everything that goes on with the car, hijacking a parade float, or trepassing throughout the neighborhood. Man the 80s we a different time."
It’s so wild what fictional characters get away with. It almost makes me mad, before I realize that they’re fictional and that I’ve had too much wine while bingeing these shows.
They should all be in jail.Always Sunny Fx GIFGiphy
"The gang from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia should be bankrupt from lawsuits and/or in jail by now from all the stuff they've done."
"I'd say almost 1 in 3 episodes should land one of them in jail for a couple years. With at least 1 season landing all of them in jail."
I can’t watch The Office for this reason.
"I like the episode where they hired an ex-con. He had been convicted of insider trading. Kevin later quietly confesses: 'I had him explain it to me three times. Because it sounds a lot like what I do here every day.'"
Doctors would never get away with what they do on this show.
"Every character in Grey's Anatomy."
"The amount of HIPAA violations on that show was extremely distressing I have often said I would never ever want to be a patient in that hospital."
As for Willy Wonka, I'm pretty sure the only reason why he wasn't sued was that he had to live with Grandpa Joe. And that, my friends, is a punishment worse than death
Let it be known--if you ever find yourself in a fictional universe, you can basically do whatever you want without consequences. Best of luck, and godspeed.
It's fun to sit around and pretend, isn't it?
Or maybe you win the lottery, it doesn't matter. The point is there's a lot of things you can do with a billion dollars, so with the world the way it is let's take a fun trip down imaginary lane.
What would you first do if you ever became a billionaire?
These are the people who would help the world continue running, keeping the sails on the ship and the car on the road. They spend their money responsibly, reasonably, and with caution.
Maybe a little boring, but extremely necessary.
The Bare Minimum
"Turn on double verification in my bank account"
"Bank account or bank accounts?"
Let's Put These Things In Proper Order
"Get an attorney"
"Then an accountant"
"It's so unlikely to become an accidental billionaire, but basically this, the only way to survive it is to create a company that runs your life and has multiple employees. Your attorneys, accountants, drivers and security detail. You are now the CEO of a small company that is dedicated to your safety."
Doing Things For Others As Well As Yourself
"This will sound cliche.
Take care of friends and family.
Travel for remainder of my life."
"You would be popular for taking care of your friends and it's a good thing to do, but i feel like it would get weird once the word gets out. You might suddenly find yourself surrounded by a lot of long-lost friends."
Of course, if you've been gifted billions of dollars you don't have to go down the reasonable route. Instead you could take all of your money and do something silly with it. Something obnoxious.
A Whole Lot Of Nothing
"Nothing, with that kind of money I could afford not to do anything for a while."
"Anyone with a billion dollars who is still working is a psychopath."
"Buy two senators and make them fight."
"They are surprisingly cheap; can you get a few more and let the rest of us watch?"
Start A Lot Of Beef With A Lot Of People
"I'd employ a law firm that semi-exclusively litigated my petty squabbles with the world. False advertising. Cop car paint colors. Whatever else that bothers me."
There's no explanation for these ones. They say money makes you eccentric and these people's dream purchases are proof of that idea.
Who's Gonna Stop You?
"I would never tell anyone and pull money out of my @ss when i need it."
@ss pennies do give a certain amount of confidence."
Sounds Like A YA Novel In The Making
"I'd build a Hunger Games theme park complete with an Arena and invite 24 children a year."
That's Some Fancy Ketchup, Bro
"I'd still eat Kraft Dinner but with really expensive ketchups. Dijon ketchup."
"And an emu. I bet you always wanted an emu."
Dream big. Have fun imagining your future.
Just don't dream of a death match for kids. That's probably not an ideal way to spend your cash.
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Our interactions with strangers can be pleasant – whether it's a fellow customer at a store smiling at us or talking sports or other mutual interests with a friendly bartender.
But then there are those who you just can't figure out but engage in a conversation with anyway until something in your gut tells you to abort.
Whether it's an ominous situation or a mysterious individual, your instincts telling you something is not right is usually accurate and what happens next depends on whether or not you act on what your inner voice tells you.
"What is Your Best 'I'm in Danger' Story?
These predicaments could have resulted in severe consequences. Or not.
"Driving through jasper on our way to leduc when my dad saw a family on the side of the road looking off into the bush off the side of the road. So we pull over and walk over to ask if they need any help. They say that they saw a bear in there and were throwing rocks at it to get it to come out so they could take pictures. My dad told us to get back to the car and we sped off down the highway. To this day i wonder what happened to those idiots."
"Not me, but a really close friend was going through flight school and they were going through emergency procedures and the instructor asked something along the lines of."
"What would you do if you noticed the power was lost?"
"And at that very moment, the aircraft lost power and my buddy said 'Well that's a neat trick and makes it feel real.' To which the instructor said 'No, that's not me. This is real.' Apparently, my buddy giggled and said 'oh no.'"
"And then they had to crash into the gulf and he swam away."
"I can't think of a better example than that."
The Thing In The Bushes
"When I was about 5-6, my mom and her best friend took us kids out huckleberry picking. We brought a battery power radio so we were making noise and would not startle any wildlife. We were all kind of spread out around these wild berry bushes. The adults heard this snorting, stomping, and sounds of a large animal moving through the dense overgrown areas coming towards us. They freaked out, screaming for us kids to run to them so we could run to the truck together. Moms friend threw her FULL bucket of huckleberries (5 gallon bucket, took all day to fill) at whatever was coming, hoping to distract it..."
"It was a cow."
You never know what strangers are capable of, especially where drugs are involved.
Sacrifice For The Devil
"I used to work in a group home. I was working a night shift and one of the residents was pacing by his room. I asked him what he was doing, he went into his room quickly. I assumed he was on meth since that's what he liked doing. Thought not much of it until a few hours goes by. I go to get some water and heat up my food, and he is standing in the hallway. Again, I ask him how he's doing and try to check in with him. This guy starts speaking in some made-up language in a loud whisper (think Harry Potter talking to the basalisk). He then takes like 4 steps slowly toward me then stops. He says 'I can't stop him forever.'"
"I call police for his and the the safety of the house."
"Police show up and talk to him for a bit in private. One officer comes back to my office and says 'yeeeah, he's not himself right now. Said the date was May 50, 2100.' It was January... and 2015. They took him away. They also found and took a pocket knife off of him and gave it to me for safekeeping."
"Now if that wasn't already messed up, I went back on the security footage and I saw him stand outside of my office door (outside my view) for like 30 minutes without me realizing. Standing still, like in paranormal activity."
"I checked the camera from when he was speaking the weird language, and he was standing there for like 20 minutes heavy breathing before I walked by."
"2 weeks goes by and he's released from the hospital sober and mentally present again. He decided to move out of the house. He came by to grab his stuff, and pulled me aside to apologize. I forgave him and tried to brush it off. Buddy looks me in the eyes and said that he was planning on killing me that night for a blood sacrafice since he was seeing some crazy stuff and he believed a demon was controlling him, but the police ruined his plan."
"I kept the knife as a morbid souvenir."
The following people these Redditors engaged with were very suspect. No drugs were apparently involved, but they were apparently quite mental.
"So, just for context, I'm Scottish. I was on Holiday in Durham and it was late afternoon. We just arrived and we were going to visit the Cathedral."
"So these lads (likely students, they were obviously on a night out or something) came up to me and were like 'hey do you know how to get to so-and-so street' and I was like 'sorry, I'm not from here.' Suddenly the guy got mad and was all 'are you Irish, ARE YOU IRISH?!' And I was like 'No I'm Scottish' (but I was sure I was going to get beaten up because, let's be honest, if he's like this to someone who's Irish then he'll not exactly be hunky Dory with Scots), but when I said that his demenor did a 180 and he was all 'oh right, you're cool, sorry to bother you' and walked off."
"And that's the story of when I was nearly hatecrimed because someone thought I was Irish."
"Went out for a drink with a pretty girl I got talking to on a bus. She was a bit awkward, but seemed kinda fun. She kept talking about her roommate, and the crazy hi-jinks they got up to. She even joked that we would have a threesome if I went back to her place."
"We went back to hers... at which point I found out that her roommate was a barbie doll that she talked to like it was a real person. Her place clearly hadn't been cleaned for years, and the toilet was full of green 'matter.'"
"The final straw for me was when I stepped on her cat's corpse..."
Not The Basement
"Couple of years ago I was picking up a chair I had bought from craigslist. I drove to this guys house and got a creepy vibe instantly when I stepped inside, for reasons I can't really understand to this day. After a minute or so of small talk, where he was mostly busy staring at me and not completely focused on the conversation, he asked me to follow him down to the basement where the chair supposedly was. As he went for the staircase he raised the volume of the music playing to a level that was distinctly louder than normal."
"I noped the f'k out and went straight home again."
In middle school, I was not a popular kid. So it surprised me when my fellow classmates who were viewed as "popular" actually engaged in a conversation with me during lunch when I was sitting by myself.
They asked me what my favorite food was and what TV shows I watched. I genuinely thought they were interested in me, but I was also skeptical about their forced friendliness.
My suspicions were confirmed when, in my peripheral vision, I saw their buddies dragging a trashcan over towards me.
I blurted, "gotta go!" and I darted. Those jerks were going to throw me in the garbage!
Chocolate milk hair and spaghetti sauce-drenched shirt was avoided that day, thanks to my gut instincts. Damn bullies.
Deciding to foster a child, while clearly admirable, is the furthest thing from a no-brainer. So much consideration must go into the decision to provide safety and security to a child who hasn't always had it.
Nobody has ever left a thriving, trauma-free family dynamic and found themselves suddenly plopped into the foster care system.
A child arrives there because the adults in their lives have struggled to give them what they need, be that love, nutrition, physical safety, or stable emotional environments.
So a foster parent enters a child's narrative a little after the fact. That can make the whole experience a real challenge.
Curious to learn the specifics of those challenges, Redditor RaeRai293 asked:
"People who are or have been in the foster system: What would you say to someone who is considering becoming a foster parent?"
Many people unpacked the nuanced dynamics of a well-known element of foster care: children arrive with a history of trauma.
"I had a friend growing in up whose biological parents were foster parents. I remember that when I went round I wasn't allowed alone with certain children there. We are still friends now and said that alot of children are from abusive families, physically, mentally."
"So you need to be prepared to receive children that have experienced horrific things in their life and the baggage that brings."
You Will Not Be Perfect
"Take care of yourself. You are not a superhero. If you don't remember self care (mental, emotional & physical), you will struggle."
"You cannot give from an empty cup and foster kids will drain you. They are suffering from trauma and you will feel that. Don't ignore your needs or they will suffer more."
Prepare for Some Sorrow
"It can be extremely heartbreaking. My aunt and uncle fostered a few kids. The 2 youngest girls were i believe 6 and 4 when they took them in. Their birth mother was an addict and sex worker."
"I remember once we had planned a camping trip."
"When we told them we were going camping they started hysterically crying. I later found out to them 'camping' was sleeping out in the streets."
Coming on the back of those upsetting realities, the foster parent's conduct and parenting style needs to be very deliberate.
"Regardless of how long the kid stays with you, they will remember how you treat them. Be patient, many may not understand what is happening at first. Most will be angry but even if they upset you don't let it show."
It's Not About Your Opinion
"Have lots of empathy for everyone involved. Put aside your judgments and listen. Figure out how you can best serve the kids. There is no magic pill that will help them. It takes time, therapy, patience and a lot of empathy."
Not For No Reason
"go easy on them. We dont act out because we just feel like it or hate you, we act out because we're not used to being treated nicely and in the back of our head we always know that we could be sent away any day so we might not wanna get attached too fast."
"my sister and I went into foster care when we were really young and we came from a very abusive family so we just expected every family to be like that? I'd flinch every time someone tried to touch or hug me and I still don't like it. you just gotta be very patient because you never really know what they went through"
Last, others reminded folks that the point of foster care is to provide temporary safety until the child can, ideally, return home.
For obvious reasons, that's so important for people to get straight.
Know the Goal
"The system is designed to reunify families as its first goal. If you are in it to adopt you will have conflicting priorities. If you're not, you should keep in mind that in order for a successful reunification to happen, you really need to forge a relationship with the bio parent(s) and in a sense, foster them as well."
"Almost all parents who are part of the system probably should have been foster kids based on what they grew up with. Treat the kid (s) as part of your family but recognize the pain of a parent having their child taken away. Regardless of what they did, they are probably hurting"
A Different Thing Entirely
"The goal of foster care is reunification, not adoption. I wish more foster parents understood that. You're not entitled to someone else's child, and foster care is not some free version of adoption."
"It can be a result, but the goal 99% of the time is reunification with bio parents. Also, no matter the situation, there WILL be trauma. It's not easy."
Remind Children Too
"First of all; As a foster you are part of a system trying to reunite families."
"First time children are going to be confused and frightened, reassure them that everyone, including you, is working on getting them back to their family."
"Children that have been in the system before will still be frightened, but might not show it, they may also be scared of going back to their parents."
"Each will be different and you need to adjust to their needs. Emotional and physical."
"Treat them as you treat your own child. This means feeding them the same,(and healthy foods) getting the clothes they need, making sure they get to the dentist and doctor, giving them treats/toys/fun things as well."
"Give them their own safe space."
"Allow them to make choices (which shirt/shoes do you want? Do you like this food? What meal do you want tonight, choice 1 or chose 2?) They have no control in their own lives, this helps give them some control."
"Get them a suitcase, that's theirs, that they can take with them when they move on. Most don't have one."
"Give them an allowance from the money you get for housing them and spend the rest of the money on things they need. It's for them, to help you care from them and it's not yours to vacation on or by your (bio) kid a new iPad."
"THEY WILL REMEMBER YOU FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES. Someday you may be a horror story about their past, or you may be the one who gets remembered fondly and with love. You dammed better be the one they remember with love."
Perhaps fostering a child has crossed your mind in the past. Here's hoping this list helped you iron out your motives, concerns, and confidence level.
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