Home > Parenting, Teasing > I Tease, Therefore I Am

I Tease, Therefore I Am

I have one younger sibling, a brother. He is not quite two years younger than me, but we were three years apart in school (I am young for my class and he old for his). Because of this, he was a freshman in high school when I was a Senior. We didn’t get along very well growing up.

We didn’t get along because he and I are completely the opposite. In every way imaginable. But one of the biggest reasons we didn’t get along so well is because I teased and picked on him pretty much nonstop growing up. I don’t even know why I did it either. I guess it just seemed like a fun thing to do when I was younger.

Fast forward in life back to present day. My son is my copy. Looks like me, loves sports like me, awesome student and academic like me. Etc. In fact, people who know us well say that they think I was cloned to get him. We’re that ridiculously similar.

He also teases his younger siblings like I used to do. Not the baby…when you’re 1 and as cute as she is, it’s a different story. But his twin sisters that are a bit short of four years younger than him…they get it from him all the time. In lots of different ways. And now, they are learning from him too and trying to dish it back at him. It seems like very day is a constant battle of he said/she said and who can get under the other’s skin the most.

I don’t want my role as a parent to always be the referee. One kid gets fed up with the teasing and tattles on the teaser. Another kid won’t share the video game time. This kid runs and sits down in another kids place on the couch when they got up for a second. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I wish it was different, but is it really that bad? I was the teaser growing up, picking on my younger brother all the time. Neither of us are perfect, but we turned out OK in spite of it. So I’m curious to hear what some of you think:

Are you a parent with kids or have siblings who experienced this dynamic growing up? Is the teasing and picking on siblings just part of the natural progression of childhood and growing up? Does it just have to be this way for a while and then they grow out of it? I struggle with this and want things to be different, but am not sure it’s not just part of growing up in a family with four children…and has to be this way for a while.

What do you think? Please comment and share…I’d love to hear.


Idaho Dad

  1. December 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I am the youngest in my family – the only girl with 3 older brothers. I was teased relentlessly by all of them and my dad. I think it was just the way we related. I am mid-40s now with three boys of my own and I see it somewhat with them as well. I think the key is the spirit of the teasing. Is it light hearted or mean spirited? That makes all the difference. I knew they loved me and teasing was their way of showing it. It still happens some today:).
    Good question – look forward to reading more of you blog!

    • December 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

      Hi Judy! Thanks for your comment…I appreciate that. It’s just interesting…because I struggle with where that line/boundary is between light hearted vs mean spirited…it’s not me who needs to assess that, it’s the one being teased. I agree with you…the spirit of it is where the answer lies.

  2. Jarimie
    December 18, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Hello IDAHO dad,
    Growing up I was the center of ridicule. To be teased slowly became a norm in my life from fellow students in school. I as well picked on my little brother who is a year and a half younger than I. As crazy as it sounds teasing is a normal part of society. What’s not normal is complimenting one another. We are to quick to point out others faults that we forget about our own. My daughter of seven years is raised with the understanding that if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all! For the most part she adheres to this,but will occasionally say something negative. I sometimes call it “positive criticism ” as it can be used as a tool to somewhat better ourselfs sort of speak. Our society puts so much pressure on us all to be perfect that we forget who we are and that being different makes us who we are. Simply put if we were all alike and perfect how boring would that be. Good luck to you on this endeavour. I look forward to reading others responses.


    • December 18, 2011 at 10:57 am

      Those are great thoughts and I appreciate you taking the time to post and share. It has really become interesting to me as of late because I am seeing it so more often. Please stay in touch!

  3. craig
    December 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I think its a part of what being the oldest kid does…..maybe due to the fact the younger are treated different & its a way to assert dominance again. From me to you big brother…you were unbearable at times yet because I have always looked up to you, I survived it and moved on. Your still the best big brother his kid could have. I love you! As a uncle, I agree that my nephew is just as bad and just like you….but trust me, his sisters are learning fast & his hands will be to full very soon!

  4. Tina Pennington (little sis)
    February 16, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Alright. I have witnessed the “teasing” Eric dished out to Craig. And Eric, we both know your “teasing” bordered on “bullying”. :-/ There is importance in the statement of if the teasing is ‘light-hearted’ or ‘mean-spirited’…. Growing up, I was the oldest, and my younger (6 years younger) brother, Jake, PICKED ON ME! I had to sit on his chest with his arms pinned with my knees to get him to leave me alone. That boy picked on my relentlessly. And my older step-brother, Josh, and my now husband, Kenny, used to tie me to the tree to get me to leave them alone. ::sigh:: And now I have two sons (I *LOVE* my boys!) who are exactly 2 1/2 years apart. It’s actually quite even between who is teasing who. Bradly usually wins though. He may be the youngest, but that boy fights to the end. Sometimes there are hurt feelings, but for the most part “boys will be boys” and it all works itself out. The important thing with my boys is that they can tease each other, but they stick up for each other too. Lucas would NEVER tolerate someone picking on Bradly, and visa-versa. When they were younger, much younger, a boy was bullying Lucas and Bradly ran, jumped up, grabbed that kid by the hair and knocked him down, shouting “leave my brother alone!” They may fight and tease without ending – and as they get older, the more physical it becomes – but the important fact is, they love each other very much and I truly think they will always be there for each other.

    Eric and Craig, I’m glad you guys have grown into the great relationship you have today. I love you both dearly.

    • February 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Thanks for the comment T…very good stuff.

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