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    People Who Have Four Or More Siblings Are Opening Up About Their Honest Experiences With Growing Up In A Big Family, And I'm Taking Notes

    "It is definitely possible to have a healthy family of this size, but it takes a lot of effort on everyone's part to make it work."

    Warning: This article contains discussion of violence and depression.

    Growing up alongside many siblings is a special experience that's a little different for every family.

    Being in a big family may mean that some chaotic moments will arise ...

    But other times, you and your siblings will be thick as thieves and happy as can be.

    I recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community who have four or more siblings what they'd like others to know about being part of a large family. Here are some of the comments we received.

    1. "I come from a family a 12. This is such a large group of people that you’re bound to not like one or two the same way you meet people in life you don’t like. I have a few sisters I love but don’t necessarily like because they’re not nice at all. Other than that, I do love my large family. We have tons of fun together as adults and have the ones we will always remain close with, but I always long for the days when we were wild kids running around the neighborhood and being each other’s best friends." —angelicacc

    2. "Everyone knows that the eldest sibling is essentially a parent, but I don’t think people understand how hard it is to turn that instinct off when your siblings are now adults themselves. You feel like you’re just doing your best to protect them like you always have, but they feel like you treat them like a child and don’t trust them to make their own decisions. People say 'it isn’t your job to parent them' when really it has been for a long time." —sarahm4a813d988

    A boy helps his younger brother put on a helmet as he prepares to ride a bike

    3. "I’m one of six. When you’re young, you’ve got a ready-made 'gang' of friends. You don’t have to worry whether other people like you because you’ve always got people to hang out with lol! If there’s something going on with someone in the family (e.g. health issues), it’s great to have so many people to rally around for support. When my mum had cancer we’d drive her to appointments, go to make dinner, clean the house, etc. I can imagine it would be a lot for a smaller group."

    A couple smiles while sitting outside on the grass with their six kids

    4. "There are six of us total. We are spread across about 12 years from oldest to youngest. So being one of the older siblings, I grew up, until I moved out for college, with almost every one of the siblings still in the same house. It had its ups and downs, but one thing that sticks out is how much trouble I had transitioning from living with my family, where I could hear at least one person walking around all the time, to living in an apartment on my own."

    A woman looks out her window at the city skyline

    5. "You only really need to be close with one, possibly two of your siblings. It's rare that you'll be close to them all, and there's bound to be one you absolutely can't stand." —bluedecor

    Two children hold hands as the sun sets behind them

    6. "Just because you’re family doesn’t mean you will always have a relationship. Siblings can be cruel or narcissistic, and sometimes they don’t grow out of it because of fundamental personality differences or circumstances around how you were raised. I only speak to half of my siblings, whom I love and have a close relationship with. The other half, I had to cut off because they’re such toxic people."

    "There’s no longer any lingering animosity on my end, but I firmly believe keeping our lives separate will benefit everyone involved, despite what anyone else who hasn’t lived our situation can say."


    7. "Not everyone from a big family wants one. I love my siblings (I'm the fourth of five), but I'll have two kids tops. The constant chaos of our life isn't something I want for my kids, and the constant overwhelmingness my parents had isn't something I want for me or my partner."—bcs1294

    8. "I am the second of five kids in a former military family (all from the same parents). Depending on the age gaps, older children are built-in babysitters. There is a 12-year age gap between me and my youngest sister and I helped raise her, so now she’s 16 and we are SUPER close."

    "You also get used to being placed in the back or hidden parts of restaurants (if you’re too loud to be in the middle). Lastly, if I told any of my siblings about you and you wronged me, even if I let you back into my life, you are dead to them. And also, they (and my parents) will know all of your secrets. But most importantly, I love having a big family because I’m never alone in the world and always have someone that I know I can count on."


    9. "I'm the only boy in the family with four older sisters and two younger sisters. Family road trips are a TRIP – so very little space in the minivan, including some arrangements that might warrant traffic tickets (sleeping in the entryway space by the sliding door in our Chevy Astro), but the fun is REAL, and the memories can be the best. Just be prepared to give up your window seat for a middle seat from time to time in order to keep the peace." —stevel5

    A couple and their kids smiles as they embark on a road trip together

    10. "I'm the third of 12. Big families are as unique as any other family. My parents adore each other, and they love all of us and put a ton of effort into making sure we all felt noticed and loved. But I knew other families where that was not the case, and some kids got lost in the shuffle. I think if people feel like they want to have a big family, it's important to be honest about what you can physically, financially, and emotionally afford. It is definitely possible to have a healthy family of this size, but it takes a lot of effort on everyone's part to make it work." —tanichcaf

    11. "I’m the youngest of five. The baby of the family will get away with a lot more stuff than the older siblings. My brother, who is the oldest, got the brunt of things, and the discipline wasn't as bad as it went to my other siblings. When it got to me, it was almost nonexistent." —egoalter21

    Three siblings and their parents spray a garden hose on their lawn

    12. "I'm 25, the oldest out of seven kids (blended family). If there is one thing to know, THERE ARE FAVORITES. The parents may not see it, but the favoritism is there. Siblings have that one other sibling that they're best friends with. Also, I always made jokes about, 'Why didn't my parents stop at me?' But honestly, I love my siblings. The sisters I grew up with and I may talk a lot of shit about each other and fight, but when someone else tries, we always look out for one another." —aries97

    13. "I’m the youngest of six, and I feel like they all see me as their child even though I’m married now and pregnant. Also, I’m the cool aunt that was always called to babysit, so all of my nieces and nephew are super close to me and sometimes forget I’m their aunt." —jakyboo1

    A young aunt holds her niece as they both smile

    14. "I was one of five. Our life as children could be very chaotic at times. I believe this bonded us together more firmly for many years as we had these experiences that we couldn't really talk about with anyone else. Unfortunately, my two remaining siblings don't get along anymore. I've tried to help fix that, but it didn't work. Especially as an older sibling, you have to learn to accept that you can't fix everything no matter how much you want to. Also, various deaths in your family tend to change the dynamics between those who are left." —ricemice93

    A family of seven holds hands and walks along the beach

    15. "I am the second of seven children in a big Mormon family. My older sister was the princess of the family and in my parents' eyes could do no wrong. I was the scapegoat, blamed for everything, and expected to take care of all of my younger siblings. By age 5 I knew how to change a diaper and make a bottle. I married young and started having kids right away, as was expected of me."

    "I have four kids of my own, and I am completely burnt out. I've been taking care of children for over 30 years now, and I'm not even 40! I love my own kids and my nieces and nephews, but other than them, I don't want anything to do with children." —kimh40aee8ba0

    16. "I've got a sister, two brothers, a half-brother, and two stepbrothers. I'm the second youngest. My half-brother and stepbrothers are on my dad's side. I'm not very close to any of my siblings anymore except my sister, as years of my mother playing favourites and pitting us against each other has driven my eldest brother and I apart, and my other brother and I have never been very close."

    "I used to be quite close to my younger stepbrother, but he and I have drifted as we got older. Honestly, siblings are a nightmare sometimes. I hate my eldest brother quite often. But my sister is my best friend and my favourite person in the world. I don't know what I'd do without her." —annabelk4b37936da

    17. "I'm one of five girls – the youngest too. You never realize how important siblings are until everyone moves out. It’s so so quiet without them. Even if they don’t live too far. It gets lonely at first. Yes, there are perks. You get all the space and more alone time lol. Everyone still comes over on weekends (sometimes the middle of the week just to hang out). It’s fun growing up in a big family. I’m just lucky that we’re all close and stay drama-free as much as possible." —lv888

    18. "There were five kids, but we were almost like two families. My two older brothers and I were born within three and a half years. Almost nine years later my first sister was born, then 18 months later my second sister was born. So there was a 14-year age span; yes, we have the same parents, and we've never looked anything alike. Eventually, we each claimed our place in the family, and it just all seemed normal."

    "I spent the most time with the little girls, but because I wanted to. Being the middle child and not having a partner caused some issues, but just for me. I never saw much difference between three and five kids, but maybe that was because I wasn't the parent. Of course, there were arguments and hurt feelings, just like any other family. Maybe time has softened my memories."


    19. "I am the oldest of five and the only girl in my family. Growing up in a house full of boys was by turns gross, hilarious, and noisy. There was no privacy, and there was always someone underfoot. My brothers chased away boyfriends and embarrassed me in front of my friends at every given opportunity. I hated them as a teenager but laugh so hard at the crap they pulled as adults. My brothers and I are still super close and no one knows me, like REALLY knows me, like they do." —cgallaghernovember

    Four brothers pose and smile on an outdoor trail

    20. "Eldest of four here (daughter). I definitely recognize now as an adult that I harbored a lot of resentment toward my siblings growing up. As the 'third parent,' rules and expectations were much stricter and higher for me. There's a seven-year age gap between me and the youngest, and I remember being very jealous of the completely different childhood they got to have. Our relationships have gotten a lot better now that we're all adults and boundaries were able to be set, but it was a rocky road getting to that point." —mcksmith1662

    21. "I am the oldest of seven kids in total. I have three younger sisters and three younger brothers, all between the ages of 2 and 10 (I'm 18 for context). What I hear the most is that I must be another parent or that my life revolves around taking care of my siblings just because I'm the oldest. That's not the truth at all though."

    22. "Growing up with five siblings, my musical taste is super eclectic because we all listened to something different. From classical to punk, Mariachi music, disco, even jazz from the '30s."

    A woman listens to music while riding the bus

    23. "Just because you love them doesn't mean you like them. I'm the fourth of five. There is a six-year age difference between me and my eldest sibling. I would literally fight a bear to save her life, but I can't stand her." —ironspider88

    Two women coldly look away from one another while sitting next to each other on a couch

    24. "I have seven siblings with one year between each of us. My parents didn't have a clue about roughly 80% of the crazy stuff we got up to, especially when we were teens. We became very good at keeping secrets for each other, lying and covering each other's backs. We taught each other how to get away with doing crazy stuff and gave advice on how to get what we wanted."

    "Unfortunately, these skills also meant that we always had ammo to use against each other when we needed to, and sometimes we would throw each other under the bus to avoid getting into trouble or deflect attention away from whatever we'd done.

    My family also had huge crazy arguments/fights where everyone was losing their minds, leading to everyone screaming, shouting and even physically attacking each other. (Sometimes so many people living together in a small house just drives everyone mad.) The fights didn't happen very often, but when they did, they escalated very quickly, and everything went insane for hours."


    25. "If you’re the oldest, be prepared to spend your teen years being a babysitter and a chauffeur."—jenmor6161

    A girl and a young boy play with a tablet on a couch

    26. "It’s the best, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!" —melaniebee

    If you grew up with a lot of siblings, what was it like for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

    Note: Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.