As the youngest of three kids with a five and six-year age gap separating me from my older brothers, there were a lot of times when I felt like an only child; especially the five years I was still in middle and high school and my brothers were away at college. However, looking back on it, I could never actually imagine growing up without sharing the experience with my siblings. So no matter how much I joke about basically being an only child here are the four reasons I will be eternally grateful to have had older siblings in my life while I was growing up.

1. I Learned How To Be Persuasive And Stick-Up For Myself

In any family with more than one child sibling rivalry is bound to be there. There is nothing more inconvenient in the life of a five-year-old girl than being told she can’t watch “Dora the Explorer” because “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” is on. Whether it was fighting over TV shows or about whether or not you could play outside with them, chances are you and your siblings fought. As you grow up, the disagreements don’t stop, you just become better at communicating with one another. Being afraid to voice your argument will get you exactly zero steps closer to what you want, so you also develop a certain degree of persuasiveness. And while a lot of arguments when your little might have tended to turn physical, you will still develop critical communication and persuasion skills via sibling rivalry as the years go on. In a weird way, I personally attribute my current desire to go into practicing law to my past battles with my brothers that consisted of persuading them of what board game we should play next and why it was better than the one they wanted to play. Being six years younger, I won pretty often but not because I had deeply persuasive argument, but just because they just got annoyed with me and gave up. You’re working at an argumentative disadvantage when they've had five-plus more years of schooling than you.

2. They’re The Usually The Best Source Of Homework Help

Even though elementary school you will probably swear to your high school-aged brother or sister that your homework is way harder, by the time you’re in high school you will be eternally grateful that he or she’s done it first. Personally, I struggled with math but my older brother is amazing at it. To this day I’m pretty sure one of the only reasons I passed Pre-Calculus was because I would text my oldest brother pictures of my homework from a different state and he’d call me and we would work through the problems together. That was homework help way better than any textbook explanation could offer me and it was time I got to spend talking to my older brother who I missed but I was too cool to admit it at the time. I hated feeling like an only child while my brothers were away at college and knowing they still had the time to help me out or talk to me for a few minutes was one of the things that made me even more appreciative to have them.

3. They Pave The Way For The Mistakes You Will Make

Any stupid thing that you do later on in life? Chances are they’ve already done it, and they’ve already been punished for it. This means one of two things: you will either have no chance of getting away with it because your parents are expecting it OR you will have every chance of getting away with it because your parents no longer want to deal with it and literally nothing is a shock to them anymore. Being the younger child usually means your parents are way more lax on things they were strict with your siblings about. The limit for what is and is not acceptable has usually already been set, you just have to maintain it.

4. You Will Always Have A Friend To Ask For Advice

As I said earlier, any mistake you make, there is a huge chance your sibling has already done it or has had a friend who has done it, this pretty much makes them a gold-mine or advice. The same goes for most life experiences too, it could be anything, from what kind of AP Classes they recommend taking senior year of high school to them just telling you stories about what they liked most about college and things you should try and do before you graduate. Whatever you need, they usually tend to have a pretty good perspective about it because, growing up in the same household, you tend to have pretty similar life experiences. On top of all this, it’s a pretty safe bet that if you ever needed anything from your siblings, they’d be willing to drop what they’re doing and help you in a heartbeat no matter how annoying it may be. Both of my brothers have at one point or another dropped what they were doing for an entire day just to come watch me row in high school. Over the summer, my parents and I drove eight hours to help my older brother move to an apartment that was ten minutes away from where he was before. Family takes care of each other and that’s why your siblings are the best friends you’ll ever have. All in all, being perpetually babied as the younger sibling can get annoying but eventually you learn to embrace that that’s just how it’s going to be and you probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, to my siblings, sorry about all those times we fought — I really do love you.