The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Siblings take on roles of responsibility within the family

Bridesmaids and sisters Ella and Isa Schaefer-Fortier match in silk dresses. They were going to their aunt’s wedding in Maine. “Having a sister that is close to me in age is really nice because we relate to one another, can help each other when we need it, and can accompany each other at awkward family functions,” sophomore Ella Schaefer-Fortier said.
Photo courtesy of Dara Schaefer
Bridesmaids and sisters Ella and Isa Schaefer-Fortier match in silk dresses. They were going to their aunt’s wedding in Maine. “Having a sister that is close to me in age is really nice because we relate to one another, can help each other when we need it, and can accompany each other at awkward family functions,” sophomore Ella Schaefer-Fortier said.

While their parents are still at work, the oldest of three siblings is tasked with cooking dinner. While slowly mixing pasta in the boiling water, thoughts of going out like the rest of their friends constantly flow in and out of their head. At the top of the staircase to the right, the middle child watches TV loudly in their bedroom while purposefully ignoring the multiple yelling requests for help with dinner. In the living room, the youngest quickly discovers that drawing inside the lines of Mickey Mouse was utterly dull and picks a new canvas to beautify: the plain white wall in the living room.
In most large families, each sibling will take on a different role and set of responsibilities depending on their age, forming a unique family dynamic.

“I think being the oldest, I can be bossy whether it be in a good way or a bad way. I can also be a team leader sometimes. I think I’m more understanding of people’s situations just because I’ve had practice trying to understand my siblings’ situations,” junior Isa Schaefer-Fortier said.

Sophomore Holly Siegel is the youngest of four and has noticed the differences between her and her older siblings.

“My oldest sister became the parent for my older siblings while my mom just kind of favored and spoiled me,” Siegel said

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Junior Maor Haddad has an 11-year-old younger brother.

“[My brother] still acts like a little kid because he is the youngest one. When I was 11, I was still acting maturely because I knew that there were other people who needed more attention. My parents also baby him a lot,” junior Maor Haddad said.

Older and younger siblings often wish to be the middle child because they have someone to take care of and someone more experienced to give them advice.

“Sean, the middle sibling, took on the big brother figure and was protective over me,” Siegel said.

Haddad tends to his siblings at home to relieve some stress for his mom.

I feed [my brothers], take them to the park and I make sure they are having a nice time as kids. As far as chores, I sometimes do the dishes and I take out the trash. But when my siblings were home, I definitely had fewer responsibilities.

— Haddad

Being the first-born of the family can present challenges that younger siblings will not have to face.

“I wish I had an older sister or an older brother, just someone to get me through life because I feel like especially coming to these college years, I have no idea what I’m doing,” Schaefer-Fortier said.

Schaefer-Fortier feels that her siblings are dependent on her.

“They know I’ll clean and make dinner. Sometimes I feel like my parents were more strict with me than they were with my siblings because I needed to be around,” Schaefer-Fortier said.

When a brother or sister leaves for college, it can dramatically shift the family dynamic, and it can be difficult for younger siblings to adjust. They may need to take on a set of responsibilities their older siblings once had.

“Oldest in the house, not in college, kind of takes over as the sibling in charge, and as my siblings left, I’ve had more responsibilities at home,” Siegel said.

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Elli Karistinou
Elli Karistinou, Print Feature Editor
Junior Elli Karistinou is thrilled to be a Print Feature Editor for her first year on the Pitch. Elli enjoys hanging out with her sister, bingeing TV shows, and baking.
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