When was the last time you called up a sibling to catch up?
We may be so caught up in our own lives, fighting to stay in the rat race, looking after our children and own families and partying with friends. Time really flies and before we know it, it’s been 6 months since we’ve last called home.
Apparently the birth order most likely to make an effort to stay in touch with family is the ever conscientious first-born.
A study in The Netherlands found that first-borns were more likely than later-borns to keep in touch weekly.
The elder brother or sister feels the responsibility to look out for the younger ones, even if they’re all already grown up with their own families. Let’s not forget that they tend to play the role of a surrogate parent when the folks are not around.
The middle child is not as likely to initiate catch-up sessions with the family. They have grown up feeling neglected and left out. They are the most likely the first among the siblings to move out of the family. They form loyal relationships with friends to experience a sense of belonging and purpose which they have never really felt at home. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t cherish family relationships. They are just less likely than their elder siblings to maintain contact.
The youngest has grown up with lots of attention, from the adults as well as from the siblings above. They also enjoy venturing outside home and live life to the max. The theory of kin selection suggests that there is greater motivation for the older sibling to invest in the younger sibling, than it is the other way round.
Other factors that can cause a variation would be parental favoritism and closeness to parents, which is also affected much by birth order.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Why not just pick up the phone and call home, or send an e-mail to a sibling whom you haven’t heard from in a while? Family relationships are nonetheless irreplaceable and can be considered the most precious of human relationships.