My parents have this really cool parenting tool called older children. There is a 24 year gap between my oldest sibling and my youngest. My parents have a perfect example of what not to do regarding everything in life (the oldest) and examples of how not to screw up, also known as understanding the importance of education, setting and following goals, dreams, etc.
At 26, I am old enough to have knowledge to share, but young enough to still be cool. I’ve been through high school, I did the sports thing, I worked, I went to grad school, and I’m in grad school again. I have the inside scoop, but from a younger, cooler point of view. I did not enjoy babysitting my brothers and sisters when I was younger, especially since it was not a paid gig and it involved changing diapers. I very much enjoy this parenting-sibling role because I love my family and I want them to succeed. I don’t mind being the voice of reason so my parents will understand why my sister is feeling a certain way or why my brother doesn’t want to do something. I don’t mind having a chat about dealing with an obnoxious coach or why substituting Spark Notes for actually reading assigned summer reading books is a bad idea.
My first rule to the parenting-sibling is always explain ‘why’. I never say, you should do this and leave it at that. My second rule is to give different perspectives/options for doing something. Just because I did something and it worked for me, doesn’t mean it is right and will work for everyone. I believe this is the key to keeping my parenting-sibling credibility.
When the parenting-sibling agenda is over with, I’m the sibling singing Evanescence – Bring Me To Life off key on Guitar Hero and finishing last in Mario Party 8.