How do siblings from same parents, background and upbringing end up so different?

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Some responsible others just a burden. We see lots of posts on this site about the one son or daughter that ends up totally responsible for caregiving of parents and the worthless sibs who do nothing but make things worse. What is it? Do parents unconsciously treat kids differently? Mom always liked you best? I know there's lots of scholarly material out there but what do you guys think is going on? I'm the responsible one in my family. My sibs passed away and I often wonder how we ended up so profoundly different having come from the same place. People who knew all three of us have always made remarks to me that we seemed to be from three different planets. I'm far from perfect and have had the sames kinds of life's downside as any one else who is 60 years old but I survived (so far anyway) and do what has to be done. What are folks thinking about this subject?


Its that whole "nature vs nurture" debate. After watching the next generation in my family grow into young adulthood I firmly believe some traits are just hard wired into our personalities.
I don't have any sisters, so I can only compare myself to my three brothers. It is just a gender thing here. My mother was raised to think men were providers and women cared for family. It is kind of funny. My two living brothers and I are middle income type people. I had more college and a job that was considered socially "higher," but still my brothers were the successful ones and my job was hobby work to my mother.

BTW, my mother has never known where my brothers or I worked or what we even did. That really surprised me. She thought I was in college for 30 years. That was funny. She thought my older brother still worked at the same company he did 40 years ago. She knew my little brother was an engineer, but that was all she knew.
Parents are not handed a blank lump of clay to mold as they will. We all come with some predispositions (or hard-wiring) to use cwillie's term.

No two siblings actually have the same parents. I was the only one in my family, for example, who had first-time, nervous, and super-devoted parents. My youngest brother came along 20 years and 6 children later. Do you think he had the same parents? Ha!

And parents and the family of origin are not the only things that influence us. My stepdaughters are identical twins. Their DNA might match, but they have had different life experiences as adults, and they are very different people.
We have 5 children, yours, mine, and ours! Strangely, the one in denial is the youngest one of "ours." The one most involved is our oldest, who is "his."
Thank God we are different, I would hate to be like my sisters. My mother doted on them, and when she needed them the most, they were MIA. The youngest of the 10 children, who were not doted on, were the ones who took care of everything when the going got tough. The sisters would only participate when they could devise a plan to make it harder on us, which ultimately only hurt my mother. They did not even lift a finger to help, not even with the funeral and never a thank you. My brothers ask me all the time, how could the same parents have possibly raised us?
That's a question for the ages. I know that most caregivers are female, but I must be in the small percentage where my sister is useless, and won't lift a finger. When my dad was dying she refused to see him. She didn't even attend his funeral. She went to the best schools (ivy league, has two master's degrees) and has a very cold heart. I didn't talk to her for 12 years and after 16 years I invited her to visit mom, stay with me, etc. I couldn't wait 'til she left as she was so obnoxious and opinionated.
I was the not so smart guy, played sports, athletic scholarship, almost flunked out, had a shot at the pros and learned how work my a** off. My sister can't keep a job and tries to borrow money from me or mom. I was a VP of several software companies over the years. Why? because I understand people and she can't get along with anyone.
So I became POA and executor for mom. She has severe dementia and lives with me. All my sister wants is for her to die and get her money and has never offered to help, visit, etc.
Great question!!!!!!!!!!!! These responses are really interesting.

My daughter has three children. The youngest two are from the same father and only one year apart. Chalk and cheese. He is tiny and slight, not interested in food much. She was born a moose, will eat anything, is eager to eat, wont' stop until it is all gone. That is nature.

As for the nurture? In my young, idealistic days I put it all onto nurture. But life has shown me differently. Today, I say both.

And how are siblings so different? Again, both. As I said above--the nature part can be so different! But even in the same family, there can be subtle, decisive differences. I see such a difference in how my daughter raised my eldest grandson (daycare all the way and she left him there in the afternoons even when she wasn't busy) to these two who are fussed over and coddled all day, their every whim addressed. She is a very different mother today only six years later.

To conclude, I share your amazement and always ask myself the same thing. Reading historical biographies, I read this same story over and over. The most intelligent, diligent parents can have duds for kids and share the same frustration that we feel today.

Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm the last of 7 and 15 yrs younger than my oldest sister.. All I ever heard was "Mom spoils you".. Well all her complaining paid off, because Mom's with me now and she hasn't visited Mom since March..

I have 2 children a boy(oldest) and a girl.. They are different in many ways BUT they are alike in learned family values.. They understand thru our teaching what is expected from them.. Not that they always do it!! I was much more nervous with my son then I was with my daughter and it shows in their personalities..

My son the scientist will argue that DNA plays a major role in who we are, going back in generations...

So I'm not taking the blame for everything !!!!

But when it comes to my siblings they lived in the same household as I and know what is expected of them, but choose to ignore Mom..

It's " out of sight, out of mind"... Selfishness to the highest degree!!

Some things are just unexplained dysfunctional phenomenons!
very interesting. I have 2 brothers and a sister. My one brother and sister are devoted to my mom-visit her frequently and can't do enough for her. I am her POA and proxy and do a lot also. My other brother left to go to his condo for 4 months in January when we where having a lot going on with mom. She was moving to a facility and her condo needed to be cleaned out and sold. He called periodically but never offered to do a thing to help. He just thanked us for doing a great job at getting everything done. Having said that, he and mom never really got along, he moved out at an early age and was on h is own. I don't know if he blamed the relationship with her for that. I think your position in the family has a lot to do with it. Parental inexperience and learning how to be a parent changes how your parents react to what you do and their expectations.

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