How being a member of a larger family has impacted student identity

Students explain how having a big family has affected their identity

Aiden Burke and Madelyn Welch

Many students who grow up with larger families feel that the influence of a larger family has broad impacts on their character and identity.

For senior Emily Feuerborn, who grew up with two older sisters, a younger sister, and a younger brother, having older siblings led to her maturing quickly compared to others her age.

“I just matured younger because I realized that the things that people my age are worrying about are not really that important,” Feuerborn said. “Having two younger siblings made me more of a leader because I have to be a good role model for them.”

Coming from a family of six, freshman Ellie Walker believes that her family has influenced her to be more social and personable, as well as providing a group of people to hold her accountable.

“A lot of different personalities in the family can help me get along with different people or hold me accountable,“ Ellie said. “I would say that having a big family is important to me because it helps me come out of my shell more when I’m with my family.”

Feuerborn echoes the sentiment that growing up with a large family led her to become more extroverted.

“Being around a large group of people just at my house got me to be more social, talk more and be more outgoing,” Feuerborn said. “If I was an only child, I would probably be a lot more sheltered, quiet and reserved.”

Ellie’s sister, junior Lauren Walker thinks that having a larger family led to her developing similar interests to those of her older siblings and influencing the interests of her younger siblings.

“Having sisters we tend to have the same interests, so my older sister did cross country then she convinced me to do it because she had so much fun with it,” Lauren said. “I kind of convinced [my younger sister] to do it so we have evolved into having the same interests because we want to spend time together.”

Feuerborn thinks that her brother has started to imitate and “shadow” her.

“[My brother] is like my little duck. Recently, he’s been picking up on my signals and my lingo,” Feuerborn said. “He doesn’t mock me, but he just kind of does the same things as me. He just picks up on my character traits, and he just kind of shadows them.”

By Tatum Elliott

According to Lauren, having a larger family can positively impact someone by giving them constant company while they’re growing up, thus giving them someone who is always there.

“[Siblings] can be your best friends and they’re always there for you …  Having a big family is always fun,” Lauren said. “I feel like it brings out the fun side in our personalities when we are together because we laugh”

Feuerborn agrees that having a bigger family results in her family being much closer and more connected. 

“Since I have a bigger family, we’re closer than we would be if I had two or one siblings. There’s always someone on the main level, there’s always someone in the basement,” Feuerborn said. “No matter where you are , there’s someone with you. You’re never alone. If I had only one other sibling, I could be on the main level, and no one would be there.”

By Tatum Elliott

Never being able to be by yourself has its downsides, according to Feuerborn. There are many times that having an inescapably close household makes it impossible for Feuerborn to get time to herself.

“You’re never alone,” Feuerborn said. “[My sister] would have been in the room with me. I would be mad and ask her to leave me alone and leave; but it’s also her room, so she can’t.”

Feuerborn and Lauren agree that at the end of the day, having a larger family ultimately led to them being happier and always having someone to talk to.

“You always have someone there to hang out with, have fun with or talk to if you’re going through something,” Lauren said.

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