The Different Types of Siblings

Different siblings usually adopt markedly differentiated roles. In this article, we talk about the most important kinds and their implications.
The Different Types of Siblings
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 13 March, 2023

There’s no academic or scientific classification for types of siblings. However, we all know that, in practice, they can be classified according to their way of being. In fact, it’s as if there are certain specific roles and every sibling plays one of them.

For instance, there are loving siblings and those who are always at odds with each other. They can also be sardonic, invasive, sly, or complicit. Indeed, perhaps the only thing that siblings have in common is that they’re there, in the lives of their blood relatives, helping, willingly or unwillingly, to develop their social skills.

The true weight of a sibling relationship is experienced during childhood and adolescence. But, the bond remains throughout life, even though it may be a distant one. It’s in the early years that they have more of an impact.

“Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together.”

-Sam Levenson-

The main types of siblings

The boxing champion

One of the more common kinds of siblings is the one who seems to be aspiring to be a featherweight champion. They’re usually older and, as soon as they see a younger sibling, they almost automatically make a gesture to indicate their superiority. For example, they might give them a little push or grab them by the neck.

Moreover, they may not be satisfied until the other sibling gives in. It’s also not uncommon for them to trip them up or remove their chair when they’re going to sit down. Thankfully, they change as they grow older, but they’ll always be rather irritating.

That said, they’re usually pretty harmless and are usually merely seeking to reaffirm their role of authority in the family.

The eternal competitor

The competitor usually has an older sibling. They’re permanently aware of what the other one has, receives, or does. They’re obsessed with equality. If the other one gets a toy, they want one too. If their sibling is praised for something, they want the same.

They see their siblings as if they’re in a mirror. They’re a really important point of reference for them. In effect, their insecurity increases when they identify any differences between them. For this to occur, it’s not necessary that the comparison is a harmful one.

The unconditional friend

Those who are lucky enough to have this type of sibling find themselves with an unconditional playmate who has no problem letting them win if they see that it’s necessary. They’re also a confidant and accomplice and can always be counted on. They keep their sibling’s secrets and would never reveal them, even under torture.

In fact, they’re the ideal sibling and they establish close ties that’ll last a lifetime. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that they also have their own needs and problems. As such, although they act nobly and selflessly, it should never go unappreciated.

Siblings can be unconditional friends
Some siblings behave like friends and confidants. Consequently, the bonds with them are usually quite strong.

The tattler

The tattler is the informer par excellence. Their goal is to make their sibling look bad in front of their parents. For this reason, they go on the hunt for the secrets and weaknesses of others, to later expose them.

They sniff around, go where they’re not wanted, and are relentless in their efforts to expose their siblings. They behave like this because they feel vengeful. Perhaps their sibling is smaller and spoiled. Or, they might be older and exclude them from their plans. All they need to do to make peace with them is pay them a little more attention.

The surrogate parent

The surrogate parent is another kind of sibling that everyone loves to have. As a rule, there’s a considerable age difference between them which is why the surrogate feels they must protect and guide their sibling. They’re attentive to their younger siblings and act as both friend and advisor.

Their siblings also treat them as if they were another mother or father. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that they’re a sibling and not a parent. They shouldn’t be overloaded. After all, they also need protection and guidance.

The love-hate type

These types love their siblings but hate them at the same time. They quarrel with them over anything, criticize and moan about them all the time, and often start pointless arguments. That said, within five minutes, they’re hugging them, bringing them candy, or just pretending nothing happened.

In reality, they’re really attached to their siblings. But this doesn’t stop them from having more than a couple of daily skirmishes with them. In effect, they’re the classic sibling prototype. The one who helps their sibling understand that human relationships are both imperfect and ambiguous.

The special child

This is almost always the youngest child. Although, occasionally, it may be someone who tends to get into difficulties. For example, maybe they broke a bone once, or they tend to get infections easily. In reality, their parents are always asking the other siblings to give them special treatment.

These kinds of siblings are really useful as intermediaries with parents when others have done something wrong. However, they do tend to be irritating if others don’t include them in their plans. They tend to see their siblings as a path to their own strength so they don’t end up being excluded for being ‘weak’.

The independent sibling

The independent sibling is usually different from the rest of the family. They live in their own world and behave as if they have no siblings. They make their own plans and may have strange hobbies. For instance, collecting spiders or practicing a martial art that no one else knows about. It’s hard to bond with them because they’re so far removed.

That’s not to say they don’t value their family, they do, very much so. It’s just that their interests and passions tend to take over. But, at the end of the day, they can always be relied upon.

The brothers of the stalker and boxer type are different
The bullying sibling wants the other to look bad in front of the others, while the ‘boxer’ wants to exert their superiority.

All types of siblings can switch roles

These different types of siblings aren’t the same all the time. In fact, depending on the date and time, they can assume different roles. They also change with age. Indeed, over time, their characteristics tend to soften. Fortunately, in most cases, they maintain a strong and positive bond with their siblings who, it must be remembered, share their life histories with them.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Beláustegui, D. (2020). Compañeros de juego. Visitas Al Patio14(2), 177–179.
  • Conde González, F. (2014). Desigualdad, discriminación y pedagogía de la igualdad. Actualidades Investigativas en Educación, 14(1).
  • Ripoll, K., Carrillo, S., & Castro, J. A. (2009). Relación entre hermanos y ajuste psicológico en adolescentes: los efectos de la calidad de la relación padres-hijos. Avances en Psicología Latinoamericana, 27(1), 125-142.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.