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Help with Research on Wishing You Had a Sister

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write4me

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Hello! I am plotting out a new book and have a character who wishes with all her heart she had a sister. 

But since I have one, I am finding it hard to express why she would want one when she doesn't have one.  What is it that your teen self really felt she was missing out on? What did she imagine having a sister would.

Thanks so much in advance if you can help!!!!


Janet  :chocolate:
#1 - March 08, 2012, 10:45 AM

Hi Janet!

I don't know if I'm going to be very helpful because I was an only child until I was 8 (not a teen) but I remember so desperately wanting a sister, not a brother, but a sister. Someone I could talk to and play with and I could share secrets with and laugh with. Someone who would break up the monotony and loneliness that I remember feeling. And when I got my little sister, who's name is Janet BTW!, I was so very ecstatic! It was the best present anyone had ever given me.

I feel that if I had been older - I would have still felt that terrible need and want for a sister. I had best friends, but they didn't know what my home life was like and I wanted to share that with someone. My homelife was tough and I think that was why I felt the need for a sister so deeply. It wasn't the kind of life you could easily talk to friends about, no matter how close. But having a sister who was there with you and could help alleviate the suffering, that's what I wanted.

 And we are very  still very close!

Hope this helps!

Ellen
#2 - March 08, 2012, 10:57 AM
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 11:02 AM by ello »
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I always wished I had someone to share clothes with. But I also felt like I was missing out on other things too. Like when a friend of mine wanted to start using tampons, her older sister sat her down and explained how they worked and how to ... well, she explained everything. I felt deprived somehow, that I didn't have that close bond with someone in the family that wasn't mom.

My friends would all talk about how much they hated their sisters or I'd see them fighting over stupid things and I'd wish I had that too.

I had two older brothers who were like best friends. I think I always thought having a sister would mean I didn't have to be the third wheel of the family. When my brothers had families (and I was still a teen), they would go out together and I'd be called to babysit. It hurt. I wanted them to get a babysitter so all three of us could go out. Having a sister would have cured that. Or so I thought at the time.
#3 - March 08, 2012, 11:04 AM

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Linda and Ellen, these answers are perfect perfect perfect! :taz:
#4 - March 08, 2012, 11:56 AM

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I had two older brothers who were like best friends. I think I always thought having a sister would mean I didn't have to be the third wheel of the family.

I was the same way. I had two younger brothers-- they were very close and I often felt like the third wheel too especially on things like family vacations and trips to an amusement park (always a challenge with five people). Also, I thought my brothers were so annoying and thought it would be so fun to have a sister who of course wouldn't be annoying and who I would love spending time with. This is actually I still sometimes want -- a good friend has a sister she's very close to and every now and then I think it would be nice to have a sister.
#5 - March 08, 2012, 12:06 PM

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Heh, joining the "I had two brothers but ... " crew. They're somewhat older than me (7.5 yrs and nearly 9 yrs) which meant that they weren't of the right age group to share my games as a kid. I wanted a sister so I could have an in-family best friend who would play my games, always be there, be my perfect confidant, and be an ally against my brothers when they annoyed me.
#6 - March 08, 2012, 12:15 PM

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 I also had a sister who was so much older and our interests were such polar opposites it didn't "feel" sisterly.  We shared a bedroom, but had a line drawn down the middle. I slept with dolls and stuffed animals on my side and she had microscopes with frogs in formaldehyde and geodes next to her bed. Anyway, I was really lonely for a sister I could relate to, play with, etc. and as a teen I would have loved to have a sister in the house that was my age(ish).
#7 - March 08, 2012, 12:34 PM
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 01:34 PM by CaroleB »

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I think the types of things your character would yearn for would depend, well, on her character. I didn't yearn for nail painting parties or midnight talks as much as I had this deep longing to share a history with someone. I felt so alone and invisible. I always felt a sister would fill that hole. I still do from time to time.
#8 - March 08, 2012, 01:18 PM

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I had an older brother, sometimes wished I had a younger brother, too, as my BFF had one. Maybe because I was lucky enough to have that BFF starting from age 3 right up through now, I never wished for a sister. So I'm not much help!  But...maybe it would be to share the angst with?
#9 - March 08, 2012, 02:03 PM

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I think the types of things your character would yearn for would depend, well, on her character. I didn't yearn for nail painting parties or midnight talks as much as I had this deep longing to share a history with someone. I felt so alone and invisible. I always felt a sister would fill that hole. I still do from time to time.

I agree with this. I have four sisters -- they were all born within 5 years, and I was a "bonus child." (I was born when they were in high school.) I grew up basically as an only child, and wished desperately for a sister. . . mainly to have someone to gripe about my parents and teachers with, I think!

I've often felt like my sisters have a better understanding of the whole girl world than I do. There's something very intense about that sister relationship -- not always in a good way, but it can be beautiful when the stars align!

#10 - March 08, 2012, 02:31 PM

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If you want to read the best sister relationship I've ever come across in a book, read The Sky is Everywhere. Might give you ideas for what your character might long for.
#11 - March 08, 2012, 03:39 PM

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I had a brother that was five years older than me and a brother two years younger than me.  Somehow I always felt left out of certain things and had to do certain chores as a pre-teen and teenagers that my brothers never had to do.  (I'm not sure this would be so true in families today, depending on how rigid the parents were).  I had to prepare the meals, clean up the kitchen, do the laundry, etc. any time my mother had to go and be with my grandparents for any length of time.  (It was the beginning of my grandfather's cancer, but we kids were not let in on than information)  I loved sports, neither of my brothers did and to be a girl in sports at that time meant you really needed your parents support to try and be on a softball team. All my younger brother had to do was show up at a playground and get a form and he really didn't like playing baseball, yet I attended every game he played.

To have had a sister to share some of the burdens put on me and to be able to talk about things my parents didn't understand would have meant the world to me. 

My friend I met in my freshman year in college is my substitute sister. 
#12 - March 08, 2012, 05:44 PM
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I wish I had a time machine.  I'd go back in time and sell each of you one of my sisters.
#13 - March 08, 2012, 06:16 PM

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Actually I think my best friend would sell a couple of hers too.  She has three.

I would like to give away my brothers from time to time.
#14 - March 08, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Aha ha ha ha ha Jaina. The time machine cracks me up.
These are great answers. Thanks so much everyone!!!  :grin :grin :grin
#15 - March 08, 2012, 06:37 PM

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I had five sisters. My oldest sister was like a mother and confessor....she gave  advice when I just couldn't go to my mother.  Not because the event was so bad or illegal, but she knew. She was so worldly!
 
The sister closest to my age (Cheryl) was always in cahoots with me....my fellow trouble maker and giggler...she knew a little bit more than me....enough to make both of us dangerous!  She always was willing to play board games and clothes.  We were the same size, and it was wonderful....unless we wanted to wear the same outfit at the same time...and then watch out!

My other sisters three just got on my nerves. Cheryl and I were always at war with them. Older teenagers can be so snooty!   :goldstar
#16 - March 09, 2012, 07:44 AM

I've always wanted a sister, who I saw as a best friend that lives with you. We moved a few times when I was younger, and I've always been terribly shy, so it'd have been nice to have had a sister close to my age to experience life with, particularly trying new things. My mom had a sister and she tells me about the times they'd dress up together, and the times they'd read together after lights out. I wanted that. She also tells about the annoying times she had, but those never seemed that frustrating to me.

Looking back, I had a pretty good relationship with my older brother. He always looked out for me at school, said Hi in the halls and stuff. We got into trouble together, and while we didn't really discuss the problems we had, I did still feel like it was him and me against the world (our parents were in their own little worlds, so we had to look out for one another most of our lives). That he was there for me no matter what happened. And yet, I never realized all this when I was living with him. That's exactly what I wanted in a sister that I thought I'd never have, and yet I'd had it all along in a brother.
#17 - March 10, 2012, 02:51 AM

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I was an only child. I yearned for a sister, but most of all an older brother three or four years older than me--someone who could play sports with and put up with my tomboyish activities. Since I spent about eighty percent of my time with my mother it felt as though my father was lonely and I wanted a brother to spend time with him.

Many times I daydreamed about my parents adopting. I dreamed of them transforming my room so my sister could stay in there, and we would talk each night before going to sleep. Each time I suggested for them to adopt they said they were too old and I would ask if they adopt someone my age or a few years older.

Most of all I wanted and older brother or sister a few years older to help me with worldly things. I wanted a friend I trusted, a friend to go to when I needed help.

This yearning for an older sibling went away by the time I was fourteen.

I hope this helps, Jgurtler!
#18 - March 10, 2012, 03:42 AM
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 03:45 AM by Woods »

I'm the youngest and only girl in a family of six. Growing up, I can't really say that I ever remember wishing I had a sister but looking back, I can see how I longed for female companionship even though I couldn't verbalize it.

Having five older brothers, and hanging out with their male friends, I always felt like the odd man out. *snort* I always did the things they did but there seemed to be this attitude that I shouldn't be doing it because I was a girl. This was the early seventies so attitudes were still old school (at least in my neck of the backwoods) but slowly changing. However, there weren't many girls for me to play with or hang out with. I was lonely as heck but I didn't know it. I couldn't identify with anyone in my family (had no mirror) and they couldn't relate to me in any way...because I was a girl. I grew up feeling invisible and alone and unable to relate to my own sex when I actually did interact with them. To this day, I still can't relate with women, well, most women. And the funny thing is, most women don't know how to deal with me.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

Companionship, identify with, confide in, hang out with, learn from...in other words, a best friend are all reasons why a girl would want a sister.

#19 - March 10, 2012, 11:13 AM
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 11:16 AM by L.E. Falcone »

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I have no sister and one older brother with whom I wasn't close as a kid. In fact, he didn't even live at home much after we were teenagers. I thought of my best friend as being like a sister, but there were times when I wanted a real sister to talk about family things that my best friend wouldn't really get or care that much about. Another good friend had a twin sister and I envied how even though they were sometimes at odds with each other, they were fiercely loyal to each other.
#20 - March 11, 2012, 10:01 AM

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I was someone who wished I had a sister when I was a kid. I can see a few reasons why.

1) My mom has two sisters who she was very close to. One of her sisters was my favorite aunt and they were always laughing and having fun when they got together. To my young kid eyes it painted the picture that all sister relationships would be that wonderful and rewarding, all the time.

2) I read Sweet Valley High and was envious of Elizabeth and Jessica's relationship. I haven't read the books since I was young so I don't remember what specifically made a positive impression, but I think it was a general sense that they always had each other's back and friendship, even when there was conflict between them. The idea that friends can ultimately abandon you but sisters won't, no matter how different you are from each other or what you fight about.

3.) I have a brother who is 8 years older than me. When he went away to college was right around the time my childhood best friend began moving on from our friendship. It was a lonely stretch of time and I think the longing for a sister often came in response to that.


In general, I think wishing for something you don't have usually comes from a desire to fix something you're not happy with. "If only I had ______________, then I would never ___________." (a sister/be lonely; a watch/be late; a better car/be teased)
#21 - March 11, 2012, 02:30 PM
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I can't help thinking of Downton Abbey when I read this thread. 

When Sybil asks Gwen if Anna will cover for her, and she says "She'd never betray me.  She's like a sister."
And Sybil says "Well then, she's not like MY sisters."

And at another time, Cora says something about how "Nobody ever tells you about how it is raising girls.  You think it'll be like Little Women.  Instead, they're at each other's throats . . ."

#22 - March 11, 2012, 03:17 PM

I'm the oldest and have two younger brothers.  I still wish I had a sister.  I really feel like I've missed out. I think I don't relate as well to women as those who have sisters.  My closest friends also don't have sisters.  I had a really hard time living with 3 other women in college.  But I didn't want a little sister (years younger.)  I always wished it was a twin or older sister.  Someone who would be there for me.  But then again, I've heard from some people that having a sister isn't always a great thing.  Good luck with the story!
#23 - March 11, 2012, 05:09 PM
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And at another time, Cora says something about how "Nobody ever tells you about how it is raising girls.  You think it'll be like Little Women.  Instead, they're at each other's throats . . ."


:snork

I have one sister. Today, we are amazingly close. But we had some teen moments where there were fists involved. Seriously. We still have *actual* scars.

Today, I have three daughters, and two are oil & water...Jaina, that's where I laughed at your quote. Exactly. Where are my Jo, Meg, & Beth? (** just b/c I have three, not four... not to leave out Amy....**) The girls spend a lot of time *not* getting along.  Meanwhile, my (only) son wishes he had a brother...


 

#24 - March 11, 2012, 05:23 PM

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Oh, I'm in the "I have two brothers but always wanted a sister" club, too!

I'm the oldest. I have two younger brothers. Middle brother and I were in cahoots until college, when suddenly it became very uncool for him to hang out with me. Like ... if we went out together to go shopping or something (we shared a car and an apartment) he's walk 8 feet in front of me ... just so nobody got the wrong idea, lol.

The youngest and I had a special bond, but we were so far apart I was more like a second mom for awhile, and then when he got older he was a pain in my teenage butt.

I always, always, always longed for a sister. Somebody to care about fashion with me (my mom didn't even like fashion) and someone to understand my teen crushes. Someone to play dress up with. Someone to read Seventeen magazine with and quiz each other on what boy was our type and would he go out with us. Someone to NOT rough house with. Someone who wanted to paint nails, do hair, etc.

My mom was not a girly-girl, my brothers were rough and tumble, and my father was (for some completely unfathomable reason) vehemently opposed to jeans and flip flops as acceptable shopping or eating out attire. I need a cohort!!!!

Hope this helps :)

(p.s. As an adult, I still would love to have a sister. I was always secretly jealous of friends whose sisters were bridesmaids in their weddings, or who had an older sister to help go through pregnancies, etc.)
#25 - March 11, 2012, 07:05 PM
« Last Edit: March 11, 2012, 07:07 PM by andregirl »
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Oh, I'm in the "I have two brothers but always wanted a sister" club, too!

(p.s. As an adult, I still would love to have a sister. I was always secretly jealous of friends whose sisters were bridesmaids in their weddings, or who had an older sister to help go through pregnancies, etc.)

Oh, I hear you on all this.  And now as an adult, it would be nice to have someone to share the "helping mom and dad" duties since my brothers don't do much in that arena.  (This thread could quickly turn into a therapy session for some of us.)
#26 - March 15, 2012, 06:02 AM
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When I was a teen, I wished I had a sister (or brother) to take some of the focus off me as far as my parents went. All the chores were my duty and if I did one even a little bit wrong I was in big trouble. I felt like my parents thought I was the worst-behaved teen in the world and I wished I had a wild and crazy sibling to make me look better :) and take some focus off me so they would stop picking on me.
#27 - March 15, 2012, 09:05 AM
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I grew up with brothers who were much older and there were plenty of times I wished I had a sister. Here are some of the things we'd share:
1. complaints about our boring/terrible/uncool life (or at least, that's how we'd see it)
2. clothes/shoes/purses
3. hair products and make-up secrets
4. ask, "Does this look right/awful/weird/hideous?"
5. sneak out when mom and dad were out
6. drive around blasting stereo in car
7. talk about personal stuff/products/time of the month
8. spy on other siblings together
9. plan weddings, shop for prom
10. get mani/pedis/give each other outrageous haircuts or use hair dye
11. give me homework help/commiserate over teachers we both had
12. sing stupid songs/dance around room
13. make fun of parents
14. watch old family videos
15. give me shoulder to cry on
16. speak foreign lang phrases mom and dad wouldn't understand
17. be awkward togther at fam parties and funerals
18. be totally silly/act like we did when we were five
19. be scared together in storms/watching scary movies/watching scary news
20. have my back no matter what
21. borrow money
22. do the quizzes in Cosmo together
#28 - March 15, 2012, 08:14 PM
« Last Edit: March 15, 2012, 08:17 PM by Nan »

One thing this thread is showing me is the reason I wasn't best pals with my sisters. I had so little interest in doing almost all of the things you all wanted to do with sisters!  Shopping, pedicures, prom, etc.?  Yuck. And my house was full of girls.  No wonder I felt like I was living on an alien planet--or from one.
#29 - March 16, 2012, 04:46 AM

By the way--that was in no way meant as a slam on you guys. I just suddenly realized how very ungirly I was (or am)!
#30 - March 16, 2012, 05:06 AM

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