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Friday, July 27, 2012

Pecking order.... It's not just for chickens...

Ah yes, the pecking order.

You know, the unspoken rule of who's the top dog - right on down the line to the one who's fighting for the next, better spot.

You see it everywhere.  In families, at work, amongst friendships - even on Survivor.
I've been seeing so much of this lately - mostly among the short ones.

Having been at the top of my family's pecking order (oldest sibling) and watching the interactions of my kids and other people's kids - the rule of the pecking order never really changes.

The eldest is (almost) always the top dog.  The younger, weaker, whatever are always at or close to the bottom - trying in vain to over throw the top dog, or at least next in line to be in the "better" spot.

A few weeks ago my sister in law and her three littles stayed with us.  Her eldest is my daughter's age & two younger boys.  Now, my sister in law was the baby of her family.  She sympathizes with the plight of the youngers.  Me - I was the eldest, so I see my niece bossing her little brothers around and I think "you go girl".  To an extent, of course. My sister in law didn't like how "mean" her daughter was being to her younger brother.

I thought it was funny - because I can STILL relate to that specific family dynamic.

I may be the shortest, but I was in charge!
I was the big sister - the numero uno.  Then came my brother, Eric, 3 years later.  HIM, the kid that stole my mommy and daddy away from me as far as I was concerned, at the tender age of three.  The kid that I accidentally, on purpose tripped when no one was looking - just because he was there.  Don't go saying how mean I was... PECKING ORDER.  I was establishing my dominance.

You know that some of  you elder siblings were doing the same thing, or similar!

Looking back now, no I wasn't always the nicest and I'd do anything to have my brother back now.  Of one thing I'm certain, as mean as I may have been, my brother always knew that no one would mess with him (besides me).  He knew that I'd always look out for him and even though I'd be the first to kick his butt, I was his big sister and I loved him.  He also knew to come to me for help if he was in some sort of trouble, or was in a situation he couldn't handle and didn't want our parents to know about.
He also became one to "not be messed with."

The next in line after Eric is my baby brother, as I still lovingly refer to him.  He and I clicked.  I loved him and cared for him and protected him, because, ya know - he isn't the one who came along to steal my mommy & daddy away - it was that other one.

Eric, however, didn't see the new little "invader" in the same way & he was the one to keep our baby brother in line.  After all, THIS kid is the one who stole HIS mommy & daddy away from HIM.

It was a healthy line of respect, even if it seems really whacked!

I've got two of my own children.  Ten years apart.  Now you'd think that pecking order wouldn't come into into play with such an age difference... not so!

I vividly remember a day when my darling son was teasing the ever living crap out of his sister.  There was really no harm, he was just playing.  When it got to a point where she was upset and started to cry, I intervened.  I asked him why in God's name would he continue to tease her - after all she's 10 years younger.  His reply?  "Expressing my dominance, mom."  I let it go.  No on was hurt, nothing mean spirited or violent was going on.  She was just pissed she wasn't getting her way.  PECKING ORDER!

It's good to be queen...
My young man has since left the nest.  "Baby Girl" is now considered to be at the top of the sibling pecking order, since we are a foster family and chickadee is younger.  Now it's "baby girl's" turn to show the younger sibling the ropes.  To express her dominance in a healthy way so that she feels good about herself and chickadee will learn to be tough, to speak up and to fight for what she wants.

To learn that even though there IS an unspoken pecking order - not just at home, but in life - she can still climb her way through & not take anyone's crap.

She'll learn that the pecking order isn't just about being in charge - but setting an example of loving and caring to the younger ones.

Thank you for reading my blog!




  1. Thank you for sharing this. It's fascinating to me to hear about people who grew up with siblings because I'm an only child. I guess that means I'm automatically the dominant one, right? Since there's nobody else. ;) Happy Friday! -Mia

  2. I am the baby of the family and at 40 blah blah blah...I'm still treated like the baby. Once when my brother and sister were babysitting me, they tied me to a chair. I struggled to get free, chair toppled over and I lost my front teeth (baby teeth - phew!) in a blaze of bloody non glory. Oh, the trauma of being the third child! lol

    1. Your poor thing :(

      This is why the one-child policy needs to extend to other countries.

  3. Coming from the oldest of 3 boys," Stuff rolls down hill". Its kind of fun to watch and see each my 3 oldest try to buck the trend and carve out their own little corner of the world. #1 has the smarts, #2 has the strength and being 2 years apart they are always at odds. The Pink One may be small, but she is not one to be crossed... She can hold her own against either one of her brothers, but if they team up, she doesn't have a chance.
    Big T just rolls with it... for now.

    1. That pink one of yours will certainly rule the roost! No doubt in my mind! Hee hee...

  4. I'm really LOVING these comments!!! Please keep 'em coming!!

  5. I am the oldest of 4 girls and now I see my oldest of 4 (also a girl) and I think, "check out bossy mcbossypants!" and then I realize, I am also Bossy McBossypants and she just learned from expert level me. Great post.

  6. I'm tagging your awesome blog with a Versatile Blogger Award. I hope you'll accept as I did when it was given to me. I just did a post on it so go to my blog for all the info. Cheers and keep blogging!


  7. As #2 of 2, there wasn't much of a pecking order growing up, but as my kids grow I am really starting to see it! Love it, love you, shared it ;)

    1. Thank you for always supporting me! :) Love you lots!! <3

  8. I am the baby 4 and the only girl....yes I need therapy. My brothers may have teased me but I usually got what I wanted because I learned quick to play the "baby" card. My oldest 2 are only 7 months apart and the older of the two acts as though she is years beyond her sister, there is for sure a pecking order in this house! Following you from YKIHAYHT :)


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