New Research. Bull. It’s the natural order.

black and white photography, siblings, brothers, childhood, memories

6:30pm NBC Nightly News last night. Brian Williams shares a feature story on how younger siblings suffer adverse long term effects from bullying by their older siblings. COME ON. Don’t believe everything you read. Here’s some real life case studies involving long term research.

But first, a short bio on my brother. He’s two years my junior. Today, he is married. He has a beautiful wife. Two handsome well behaved, high potential teenage boys. He has a great job and is making a real contribution to the community. A good man.

Roll it back to his teen years. Pudgy, but nimble in dodging blame. Lazy, but quick to vanish when it was time for chores. Shirt untucked and laden with food droppings.  Pants hanging off his a** before it became a fashion trend.  And foreign ooze dripping from his nose, year around.

Case 1: Lazy summer afternoon. We were chased outside to play. I grabbed our baseball mitts and ball. He reluctantly agreed to play. We tossed it back and forth a few times. He then sat down in the grass in the shade and called out: “It’s too hot.”  I walked over, glared at him and told him to “get up.”  No movement.  I’m staring him down.  He’s scooching backwards on his hands towards the tree: “I’m tired. This is boring.” That was it.  I marched back down the lawn.  Stopped.  Took a deep breath.  Turned, and in a single motion unleashed a fast ball from 15 feet away nailing him in the forehead. Based on his reaction, you would have thought I hit him with a Scud Missile. Outcome for me: Capital Punishment. Outcome for him: Appropriate long term attitude adjustment. (One doesn’t forget a baseball to the noggin’.)

Case 2: He had this bathroom problem. (Common malady for middle children.) Meaning, he would lock the door and do his business, FOREVER. One day, a bottle of hot pink nail polish spills on the counter top and the floor…stripping the finish. He refused to acknowledge that he was the culprit. Outcome for older brother: Capital Punishment. Outcome for Junior: Enforcement of a moral code. A punch in the stomach and a promise for more if he ever tried that stunt again. To this day he denies it (“it must have fallen over and broke on its own.” Really?).

Case 3: He hated eggs sunny side up. I mean he HATED them. He couldn’t bear seeing, touching or tasting runny egg yolks. (Among other food groups that are today generally known to be good for you.) I would watch him gulp the eggs and see them work their way back up his esophagus (like throwing up into his mouth). My reaction: Belly laugh, and fist pound on the table. Outcome for me: High impact wooden spoon to the forehead. Outcome for Junior: He LOVES eggs today.

Research Conclusions: It is the natural order. God put older brothers on this earth to ensure younger siblings find their way.  The RIGHT way.  And Jack, you can take this to the Bank.

Photograph: Thank you Emily RC Photography


  1. David: I had three brothers! Same experiences, although not always the same outcome. I firmly believe that if you grow up in a household surrounded by love, that is the real shaper of our future, not older or younger brother’s antics.


  2. Laughing out loud – clearly you have spoken with my older sister.


  3. I agree, it’s the natural order.


  4. nutsfortreasure says:

    Reblogged this on Living and Lovin and commented:
    I have three younger brothers two of which I wonder how they survived their youth.


  5. As the oldest of three sons, someone had to maintain order!! Great story.


  6. Except, the best role of all is to be the little sister with three brothers. It exposed me to all of the dark traits: blackmail, manipulation, punishment without due process….. of course, I’m over all of that now (smile).


  7. I grew up the middle child so I got it from both ends. We never took the kidding too serious. No lasting affects. But that was my generation.



  8. This made me smile. I grew up as a middle child. My older sister tells me about when she was babysitting me and I wouldn’t go to bed, she would put ice down my pajamas and I would just laugh. It infuriated her. I’ve blocked that memory. 🙂


  9. richardkanigan says:

    Dear brother, I believe there is some revisionist history in this story. I think the research is bang on. My delicate sensibilities have been forever affected. Btw, sunny side eggs only on certain days, but I do think of them quite often when a school bus goes by!


    • Ahhhh yes. Look who slithers out from under the rock. The delicate sensibilities then were covered in 3 inches of baby fat pal. Laughing about school bus. I forgot all about that.


  10. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Wasn’t there a similar cherry story along the way too?


  11. Alex Jones says:

    What can I say? I laughed. Glad I had no older brothers.


  12. I admit, with deep chagrin, that I gave my younger brother (by 4 years) endless amounts of grief, but somehow he frequently (though not always) managed to dodge the punishment bullet–silver-tongued little s!’,$& (which he remains to this day, I might add). My favorite recollection of childhood inequities was when my brother was probably a senior in high school, myself the same in college. Got home one night (ahead of my curfew, which at that point really existed only in my head) and my brother sailed in an hour or so later. My dad, of course, was lying in wait. As soon as my brother hit the 2nd floor landing, my father stormed out of the bedroom and asked my brother if he knew what time it was! To which my brother calmly replied, “Sure Dad, 2:30–night!” Then turned around, walked into his room, and shut the door. Left my father sputtering in the hallway. Guess it’s all in the delivery! 😉


  13. lkanigan says:

    Big Brother, I too agree with the research. Being tossed like a slinky down a flight of stairs with no carpet backwards didn’t help. Seeing dad chase you with a broom did. Scarred for life! LoL.


    • Character building Bro. Character building. And don’t give yourself too much credit (although I love the slinky visual). You were rolling down the stairs like a sack of potatoes.


  14. I am the little sister in our very small tribe…and yes, I took it all from my older by nine years big brother. And no, I never antagonized him to get it. Never.


  15. I was the third of four kids. The first girl so free from the bullying. My older brothers were relentless. Bruises and scratches were the norm. They are friends now but it was a long and rocky road before that happened. I’m more scarred then they were! Your stories always make me laugh. Is the nose goo heriditary? Lol


  16. OMG! I’m so glad that I grew up as an only child…for most of my growing up years. 🙂


  17. Natalie says:

    LOL…I can just imagine what you put your parents through, let alone younger brothers!! Just think of it as a wonderful learning experience!! 🙂


  18. I loved this story, David! And I was curious to hear your brother’s side. I am the oldest and my younger sister and younger brother picked on me. And they still do! 🙂


  19. David,
    Thanks for the comment on Perpetuas site.
    I was the younger brother too and man I paid a price for the 16 months and 25 pound difference. All I can say about older brothers…..a***holes!!!!!
    That was so funny. Thanks.


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