Younger sibling overshadowed needing ADVICE

<p>Hi there! I have a friend, "S2"(16 yrs) who is overshashadowed by his older brother "S1"(18). My friend is really great. His older brother who's passion is music ( especially music perfomance on the clarinet) is thriving as a freshmen in college. S2 has been constantly trying to live up to S2's achievements but seems like he'll never accomplish or even come close to it. I try to tell him that it's not important to live up to his brother, just be himself and do what makes him happy. He is constantly put down by the achievements of this "kid" prodigy in band. Same year and same age. S2 thinks that the band director will never give him a chance to shine and be in the spot light, always given it to the prodigy. </p>

<p>I really feel bad for my friend. Any advice would help.</p>

<p>I think this is a very common feeling among people of all ages. Will we ever measure up? If you get in the habit of comparing yourself to others, you will always find those "better" and those "worse." (It's always subjective, of course.) If you focus on those you think are better, you can become discouraged or feel inadequate. If you focus on those less well off, you can become arrogant and proud. It's much better if you can learn to (as the Army says) "Be all that You can be" and not worry about others. Easier said than done, of course.</p>

<p>I have three kids, S1, S2, and D. S1 is Ivy, and quite bright. Although S2 and D are also bright, they felt inferior. S2 struggled with this until he found his own strengths, which included music. He is now studying at a conservatory. </p>

<p>Which leaves D, who is bright but probably not Ivy-bound. Who is quite musical as well, but lacks the passion for conservatory study. She is 15, and working at discovering her own passions, and place in the world. She admits to feeling some competitiveness. It takes constant reminders that the world doesn't need a clone of her brothers; it needs her unique self.</p>

<p>To your specific situation, Every band and orchestra has multiple players. Yes, the "best" get first chair and all the solos. But the music would be very weak indeed if there were only first chairs and no "team players." It's a myth that you have to be best in order to justify doing something. Furthermore, the music lovers are not just on the stage -- Music lovers are the ones buying tickets and filling the theater, too. The world needs all of them! </p>

<p>If your friend wants to do music and have a chance to shine, suggest that he form his own small ensembles. A woodwind or brass quintet, for example. He may have to create his own opportunities. The people who do get special attention usually get it because their passion is helping to create the opportunities.</p>

<p>Explore other musical paths, too. Music technology. Composition. Drum Major.</p>

<p>And of course, ask the hard question: Is music what he loves, or is he just trying to live up to big bro? If he sees S1 getting strokes at school, at home, he may feel pressure to compete that people don't realize is there. (I followed a talented older sister through school. When people said "Oh, you're her sister" I heard something entirely different: "I have expectations for you." Or, "What a disappointment you are." Obviously those things weren't even said, and probably weren't intended, either.)</p>

<p>He can consider the kinds of things he gets complimented on -- academic areas, things such as people skills, creativity, teaching skills, leadership, technical skills, and so on. There are tests out there to help people discover their strengths. Good friends can help, or school counselors. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>



<p>what a terrifc quote ... one I will steal shamelessly!</p>

<p>Also, there have been 200 views of this thread since it started, although only a few responses. Perhaps this is because many of us have issues along these lines, I know I do at our house. Binx, awesome reply, thank you.</p>

<p>Thanks people, especially binxs. Hopefully my friend can feel better now.</p>

<p>Blue, your friend needs to give up the competition with his brother, it won't accomplish anything and he'll just make himself crazy. If he really loves playing music, he should continue to do so and ignore the kid prodigy - obviously, being a prodigy hasn't done anything to turn this kid into a decent human being. People like that deserve to be blown off, period. Ignore the prodigy and enjoy the music for its own sake and for the pleasure he gets in performing it. However, if S2 is only playing in the band because S1 did, and it's otherwise just another chore for him, he should bail out and find something that HE loves. If he refuses to react when other people compare him with S1, eventually they'll stop doing that and will learn to look at S2 for who he is, not who is isn't. </p>

<p>My husband is the oldest of 4 boys, and growing up he was king. Brother 2 is academically brilliant, but always ended up in B1's shadow because B1 was bright AND a star athlete. My favorite story about them is the time that B2 was on stage at school to receive some kind of award. When the Principal called B1's name by mistake, B2 just sat there and didn't move. The Principal turned and looked at him, and called B1's name again. No response. Finally the Principal said, "OH, B2!", at which point B2 got up and accepted his award. B2 could have gotten all upset at the mistake, or gone up to accept the award even though the wrong name was called. Instead, he quietly refused to accept the award until the Principal recognized the right brother. S2 needs to learn how to do this too, so that everyone (himself included) recognize the special person that he is and stop comparing him to S1. Everyone has something that makes him/her special, and S2 needs to find out what his "something" is.</p>

<p>Marcyr, the prodigy isn't rude to him( at times he is really ****y) but it seems like things always go his way. S2 is not only under S1's shadow but also the prodigy...a double whamy. </p>

<p>Also, thanks for the advice ; )</p>

<p>My daughter (now in 12th grade) was almost hysterical in fear of being compared to her older brother (now a college junior) when she started high school in 10th grade. She would get very upset if anyone mentioned him, with good reason, as some teachers and students had made some very insensitive comments to her or in front of her. He was the valedictorian, won many prestigious awards, and got much recognition from students and teachers. By 11th grade she had made her own way, found her own interests (different from his), and was over most of her distress. Then a boy from our school with the same last name as ours (no relation) was arrested for doing something so terrible (I won't go into detail here) that his name was published in the paper even though he was a juvenile. People who didn't know her well asked her if the criminal is her brother and she now realizes how lucky she is to have the brother she has :) The last time it happened, a security guard at our school was checking her ID when she drove in late and asked if her brother was the one he had "apprehended." She proudly replied - NO! MY brother was the VALEDICTORIAN!!!"</p>

<p>That's a great story, MotherOf2! We are lucky that D1 is off to college this yr since D2 is entering the same high school. Unfortunately, both their names start with there is a tendency for teachers to call out D1! But D2 is definitely taking a different path than her fact, when D1--recruiting for Acadecca--was talking to her sister, I held my breath and subtly talked her out of it for 9th D2 is on a totally different road! (whew!)</p>

<p>I'm the "older sibling". Sometimes my mom asks me to back off and let the other sibs have a go at activities, and that's frustrating because sometimes I'm honestly interested in the same thing they are. </p>

<p>For example, bro2 right after me has always been into voice and singing. From the time we were five and seven, everyone has commented on what a great voice he has and how well he sings. Since no one said anything to me, I thought my voice was terrible and never sang in public. I pursued other interests. </p>

<p>About the beginning of high school I told myself that hiding because I never got compliments was dumb. I liked singing for fun anyway. When people heard me in hallways and during breaks etc, they started saying things like, "Wow, you should be in choir!" or telling me to try out for musicals. So now...we both can sing well. </p>

<p>I think it's one long balancing act during which siblings learn self-esteem and how to graciously step aside for a sibling when appropriate.</p>

<p>At my house, we have 3 sons, 2 years between each. S1 is a near prodigy musician and currently attends a prestigious conservatory. S2 had quite a few problems in middle school with the attention received by older sib. So he chose a different path. Since we have a common last name, there were teachers in the high school that didn't even know the were brothers! S3 is also a talented musician but not near the level or ambition of S1 but since there are 4 years between them, there is less pressure. I am very proud of S2 that he has been able to make his own mark in the world, even though it is much less well known that S1. S2 was involved in music throughout high school but invested his time into scouting and ended up with his Eagle. </p>

<p>Your friend needs to find a way to seperate himself from his brother and the expectations of others. He should look for things that interest him other than music that let him be himself. He is only in competition with his brother and the prodigy if he thinks he is. As soon as he is able to let go, accept himself for who he is and accept the others for who they are, he will be much happier.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for responding to my post. Your stories give me a good idea what I should say to him.</p>

<p>High school is a tiny tiny part of life. There is danger in peaking early and there is no guarantee that a life will continue peak to peak. The odds are against it. </p>

<p>I'm the oldest of six. Grwoing up, one B seemed so much better than the rest of us. He was so good, we nicknamed him 'Baby Jesus'. He was valedictorian. He founded the African American club at his school (he isn't African American). The premier piano teacher took him as a student--but not me. He thrilled my parents by getting into their favorite university. He was the Sun God at home and at school. </p>

<p>On the other hand, I was a disciplinary--though well read--handful in elementary school and a mediocre--though well read--student in high school. Not quite valedictorian, my rank was something like 100th out of 120. I forget. I didn't get into the architecture school of my choice until they lost their minds and took me off the wait list in....August! :)</p>

<p>That early trajectory didn't continue. I picked up momentum and he struggled to come to terms with a world that didn't measure up to his standards; Sun God standards he swallowed whole when he was too young to know better. </p>

<p>This is one personal story, but I'm sure there are countless biographies of once 'overshadowed' siblings rising to the top.</p>

<p>It can happen.</p>

<p>Thank you cheers. I think it's an amazing thing that a once "overshadowed" sibling can make his mark and stand out on his own.</p>