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Childish Older Sibling

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PJ: How am I gonna tell [their parents] that I lost our baby sister? I'm the oldest. They're gonna think I'm the most responsible.
Teddy: PJ, if it makes you feel any better... nobody thinks that.
Good Luck Charlie, "Baby Come Back"

An older sibling is usually supposed to serve as a positive example for their younger sibling. However, a good amount of the time, the younger sibling will view them as an example of how not to behave.

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In fiction, the older sibling is often portrayed as being more lazy, reckless, and all around more of a troublemaker than their younger sibling. Usually an older brother will serve this role to a younger sister, though this isn't always the case. The younger sibling may find the antics of their older sibling endearing, or annoying (or both). The older sibling, especially those who exhibit Manchild behavior, can also simply cause them to be wrapped into a bad situation that gets them both in trouble. This doesn't mean the younger sibling is perfect. They may be willing to get into childish acts, or perhaps the younger sibling is at an opposite extreme. Regardless, the younger sibling tends to be the more mature of the two. This can be Played for Drama where the older sibling feels inferior when compared to their younger sibling. However, despite their usual immaturity, there may be times where the older sibling shows that their younger sibling can rely on them in a pinch.

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Compare with Disappointing Older Sibling (which is about younger siblings having a negative opinion of their older siblings, regardless of why or how justified it is), Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling and Aloof Big Brother (which is about the (usually male) sibling being cold and distant towards his younger siblings). Also compare Wacky Parent, Serious Child, which is a similar dynamic applied to parents and their children. Not to be confused with Big Little Brother, where the younger sibling is physically larger than the older sibling, though the two may overlap. Contrast Mature Younger Sibling and Annoying Younger Sibling.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blue Exorcist: Rin Okumura is a childish, Book Dumb, hot-head and is somewhat of a delinquent. In contrast, his younger twin brother Yukio is a polite, gifted scholar, and serves as one of Rin's teachers at True Cross Academy. This is later subverted in the manga, where, while both of them have issues with feeling inferior to the other, Rin eventually overcomes his, while Yukio's sanity degrades, and eventually results in him committing a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • High School D×D: Serafall Leviathan. Despite being one of the Four Great Satans, she often shirks her duties in favor of engaging in cosplay and dote on her younger sister Sona, who is more intellectual and serious. Sirzechs Lucifer also counts compared to his younger sister Rias.
  • Hana Nono from HuGtto! Pretty Cure wants to become a mature and stylish older sister figure for others, but she's really a childish, dorky Genki Girl. Hana's younger sister Kotori is more down-to-earth than her, and she views Hana as too childish to really look up to.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?:
    • While Fina is polite, responsible, and a skilled mage, her adoptive brother Argo is a shameless skirt-chaser who is useless in battle and never seems to be able to keep his mouth shut. As a result, Fina is usually the one to rein him in when he's acting foolishly in public. This becomes increasingly downplayed as the story goes on, as while Fina is thinking solely about the present, Argonaut is thinking about the future and how best to make everyone smile.
    • Orna and Elmina are a twisted variation of this. Orna is cynical and can't fight, but can be reasoned with despite her fear of clinging to undue hope. Meanwhile, her older sister Elmina is a cold-blooded assassin who is single-mindedly focused on protecting Orna at all costs. Even when it's pointed out that the "paradise" she seeks to shelter Orna in will inevitably fall, Elmina refuses to listen to reason. Then Ryulu's Breaking Speech reveals that Orna is a Replacement Goldfish for Elmina's real sister and that Orna is absolutely miserable under her watch. This triggers a massive Villainous Breakdown in Elmina, who devolves into a Psychopathic Manchild and a Yandere desperate to cling to Orna for some kind of affection.
  • K-On!: Yui is an eccentric Genius Ditz who usually lazes about in her spare time while her younger sister Ui is more mature, hard-working, and responsible. Most of Ui's daily routine involves taking care of the household chores and Yui as well.
  • Catarina from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has the mentality and attention span of a young child despite having at least seventeen years of Past-Life Memories. Her adoptive little brother Keith on the other hand is very well behaved and often finds himself playing Cloudcuckoolander's Minder for her.
  • No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!: Tomoko is a socially inept otaku who tends to laze about and play games. Her younger brother Tomoki is much more mature than her, taking his studies seriously, and is willing to help their mother around the house.
  • Osomatsu-san:
    • While all of the Matsuno brothers are man children with little to no social skills, Osomatsu himself, the oldest of the sextuplets, tends to embody their childish and lazy nature most of all. This is especially notable when he interacts with Choromatsu, whose moments of rationale tend to come from exasperation at Osomatsu's antics.
    • A good amount of the time, all of the other sextuplets are this compared to Todomatsu, who's the most socially adept, and other than Choromatsu, the most frequent holder of the Sanity Ball. This is especially the case compared to the 5th sextuplet, Jyushimatsu, who's a hyperactive goofball who often seems to be living in his own world.
  • Pokémon: All three of Misty's older sisters, the Sensational Sisters, are irresponsible, stereotypical Valley Girls — although the oldest one Daisy does get better with more time — more concerned with their appearances and shows than being Cerulean City Gym Leaders. While Misty is rather vain and temperamental, she generally comes off as significantly more mature than them.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi Tsukino is regularly Book Dumb and prone to childlike behavior, while her little brother Shingo is much more studious and mature.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Katsuya Jonouichi/Joey Wheeler is a hot-headed idiot who rarely thinks before he acts. His younger sister, Shizuka Kawai/Serenity Wheeler, is much more calm and mature, though prone to moments of naivety.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Lua/Leo is hyperactive and immature, and tends to cry when he gets emotional. His younger twin Luca/Luna is the more calm and collected of the two.
  • YuruYuri: Sakurako Oomuro is a first year middle school student who frequently mentions her frenemy Himawari's large breasts and goes so far as to touch them. Beyond that, she often slacks off her school cleaning, homework, and chores and is in general fairly hyperactive. Her 8-year-old sister Hanako on the other hand does her homework without fuss, is stoic, and likes to drink black coffee, something Akari (another 13 year old and friend of Sakurako's) forces herself to drink.
  • YuYu Hakusho: A dark variation comes into play with the Toguro brothers. The Younger Toguro brother is stoic and honorable despite his villainous actions. The Elder Toguro, however, is a sadistic Psychopathic Manchild who throws fits of rage when things don't go his way.

    Comic Books 
  • Henchgirl: Mary Posa is a lazy #2 minion in a lower-ranked criminal gang, while her younger sister Paige is Photo-Girl, an up-and-coming superheroine who can stop time. Undoubtedly this happened because of their parents alternately ignoring and criticizing Mary because of her Boring, but Practical minor super-strength versus doting on Paige's potential as a superheroine. Paige, however, admires Mary's rebelliousness and tries to be a good sister to her, including repeatedly rescuing her - from the police, from heroine La Viuda, and from an empowered Amelia out for vengeance.
  • Downplayed in Mega Man (Archie Comics). Rock is the first of Dr. Light's Robot Masters, as shown by his official designation, DLN-001. But since he's programmed to act like a child, he suffers from Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! and giddily runs off into a robot convention. Compared to his "younger brothers" designed after him, like Elec Man or Guts Man, he often comes across as immature; however, he can be Wise Beyond His Years, and he's forced to grow up and take charge when his brothers get hijacked and reprogrammed.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Peanuts, Linus is Wise Beyond His Years, but also carries around a security blanket, sometimes sucks his thumb, and has the strange belief in "the Great Pumpkin." His little brother Rerun gets increasingly embarrassed by him as the strip goes on, as he's already outgrown the childish traits that Linus refuses to drop.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Onward, Ian's older brother Barley is laid-back and impulsive, often to a fault. By the end of the movie, however, Barley proves that he can be selfless and reliable when the situation calls for it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cat in the Hat: Conrad and Sally represent opposite extremes of All Work vs. All Play. Sally is an uptight control freak while her older brother Conrad is an immature rule-breaker who doesn't think about the consequences of his actions. While both are portrayed as flawed, the film portrays Conrad as the bigger problem as his rule-breaking puts their mother's job in jeopardy.

    Literature 
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: Ferdinand's older half-brother, who is first mentioned in an early chapter from Ferdinand's point of view, eventually appears in person. He turns out to be much more childish than Ferdinand, even taking into account the fact that Ferdinand is one of the most straight-laced members of the cast.
  • In The Diamond Girls, Rochelle Diamond generally comes off as being less mature, responsible, and perceptive than her younger sister Dixie. She spends most of her time hanging out with boys, fighting with Jude, and whining about her situation, while Dixie makes an effort to help clean up the house and get things organised.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: While Greg Heffley isn't the pinnacle of maturity himself, his older brother Rodrick is a lazy, Book Dumb troublemaker who does little more than make life harder for the family, especially with how he acts towards Greg and Frank.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows , Harry finds out that Dumbledore was this to his siblings as a teenager. When his mother died, he wasn’t emotionally mature enough to take care of his sister Ariana (the youngest child) while his brother Aberforth was. He was also going to recklessly run off with Grindelwald to find the eponymous magical objects with Ariana in tow, even though she wasn’t in any shape to travel. Aberforth even says to Harry in the present that he didn’t necessarily mind his brother going off on said trip but the issue was that he immaturely didn’t have a good plan as to what to do with her and he wouldn’t let Aberforth quit school to take care of her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 8 Simple Rules: Older sister Bridget is ditzy, shallow, and obsessed with her popularity and appearance. The middle child, Kerry, is very studious, responsible, and socially conscious. However, both mature after the death of their father.
  • Arrested Development: GOB, the oldest of the Bluth siblings, is a listless, perpetually unemployed manchild whose career as a professional stage magician is almost universally unsuccessful throughout the series, owing in no small part to his general lack of talent as a stage magician. GOB’s brief stint as president of the Bluth company is utterly disastrous for everyone involved, to the point that even he begs Michael to do the job for him. By comparison, middle child Michael Bluth is less eccentric, more experienced, and a somewhat more competent executive when put in a leadership position in the Bluth Company. Of course, since pretty much everything in this show is played for comedy, Michael’s sound management choices get the family into just as much trouble as GOB’s terrible decisions.
  • Good Luck Charlie: PJ Duncan is far more airheaded and immature than his younger sister Teddy. And while he's less of a troublemaker than his younger brother Gabe, PJ's far more careless than either of them. PJ's problem gets lampshaded in the crossover special with Jessie. When the group decides to split, Jessie initially puts PJ in charge of the boys' group; but then Teddy whispers into her ear and Jessie decides to put Ravi in charge instead.
  • How to Get Away with Murder: The relationship between Asher Millstone and his older sister Chloe falls into this. While Asher is very immature and silly himself, he nevertheless is capable of being serious and responsible when required, is a (mostly) functioning law student, and has a hidden caring side to his personality. Chloe, meanwhile, is dim, flighty, bratty, whiny, and irresponsible, to the point she can barely function in life without her family's money to support her.
  • iCarly: Spencer, the older brother and legal guardian of the titular Carly, is an energetic Manchild who often is too wrapped up in working on bizarre sculptures to actually take care of Carly. However, there are moments where Spencer steps up and acts like a proper guardian.
  • In Jessie, the eldest child, Emma, is normally too ditzy and self-centered to be trusted with anything, while the next one, Luke, is too much of a troublemaker. When any responsibility needs to be set, Jessie normally appoints it to Ravi, the third in line.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: The two oldest brothers, Francis and Reese, are both delinquents and troublemakers, with the former even being sent to military school. The third oldest Malcolm has his immature moments but is also a very smart student and often the serious Only Sane Man of the family. Their younger brother Dewey is Wise Beyond Their Years and becomes more mature than all of them in later seasons.
  • The Middle: While Sue is still fairly naive and childish, she's easily much more responsible and ethical than her older brother, Axel. She also applies herself more than Axel, who often tries to skate by on his popularity and his status as a jock.
  • Scrubs: While J.D. is quite a Manchild himself, he has a much more stable life than his incredibly immature older brother Dan. This eventually becomes subverted after Dan works to improve himself after finding out how little respect J.D. has for him, resulting in Dan becoming a successful real estate agent. J.D. is initially jealous, as he took comfort in Dan being more of a loser than him, but gets over it and tells Dan that he's proud of him.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: While both Zack and Cody are fun-loving troublemakers to a degree, Cody is much more studious and cautious than his older twin Zack, who's reckless, hates studying, and is almost always the reason the boys get in trouble.
  • Tyrant: Jamal Al-Fayeed and Bassam Al-Fayeed are the two sons of a Middle-Eastern dictator, with Jamal immediately becoming President upon their father's death as he's the oldest. However, while both men have their internal conflicts, Jamal is much more insecure, prone to irrational behavior, and a Psychopathic Manchild, whereas Bassam is much more composed and wise. Flashbacks to their youth show that Jamal was too scared to kill a captured rebel at their father's behest, while Bassam shot the man without flinching.
  • Victorious:
    • Trina Vega is narcissistic, rude, and desperate for fame. This often results in Tori, the younger Vega, needing to act as her keeper, such as babysitting Trina when she's delirious from having her wisdom teeth removed, or needing to reel her in when Trina's bothering celebrities.
    • Based on the stories that Cat has told about her older brother, he's even more of a deranged oddball than she is.

    Video Games 
  • Purah is this in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. She's the genius older sister of Impa, but while Impa was the responsible, level-headed aide to Princess Zelda in their youth, Purah was a laidback Ditzy Genius more fond of experimenting with new tech and coming up with fun catchphrases than exhibiting a single shred of common sense. The first time you met them sets the stage quite clearly. Impa is in her traditional role as a calm, wise figure directing Link on how to proceed in his journey. Meanwhile, Purah has recently tested a Fountain of Youth device on herself on blind impulse and has reverted to a prepubescent child, with her closest colleagues being completely unsurprised by this.
  • Neptune of the Neptunia series is supposed to be the older of the two Planeptune sisters; but not only does she look younger than Nepgear, she even behaves more childishly than her. This, however, only applies to her human form; her goddess form is a completely different story altogether.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Played With in the dynamics between Gumball, Darwin and Anais Watterson. Gumball, who's the oldest, is reckless, irresponsible, troublemaking, and lazy. Darwin is more polite and better behaved, but also regularly gets caught up in Gumball's antics and is so innocent that it's clear he's the younger of the two. Anais, meanwhile, is responsible, serious, well-behaved, and very intelligent, to the point where she more often takes more care of Gumball and Darwin than vice versa. However, Anais is still very much a little kid who enjoys childish pursuits and can be incredibly naïve, whereas Gumball's cynicism can often give him a better grasp on the situation than either Anais or Darwin; he'll regularly point out the logical flaws in their idealistic fantasies.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Played with concerning Jake and Haley Long. Jake is reckless and irresponsible, while his younger sister Haley is a rule obeying perfectionist. However, when it comes to dealing with magical threats, Jake has much more experience in dealing with them, resulting in him being more likely to know how to handle even unfamiliar situations, while Haley's inexperience and youth results in her being more prone to crack under pressure.
  • Animaniacs: The middle Warner sibling, Wakko, is much more of a ditzy goofball than his younger sister, Dot. Averted by eldest sibling Yakko, who is arguably the sanest of the three (not that this is saying much).
  • Arthur: D.W. is a typical brat who often acts up for little reason or just because it's funny to annoy Arthur. This doesn't slow down when she becomes a big sister to Kate, who is a very friendly and easy to care for baby.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: While Sokka isn't completely devoid of a sense of responsibility, he's far less mature and more prone to overreacting than his younger sister, Katara. Sokka outright admits in "The Runaway" that he views Katara as a substitute for their dead mother even though she's a year younger than him.
    • The Legend of Korra: Bumi is the oldest among Aang's now middle-aged children, but he behaves very immature and childish. At one point, his younger brother Tenzin says that as a child he was the eldest, but always behaved like the youngest.
  • Despite being Dexter's older sister, Dee Dee from Dexter's Laboratory acts very childish, and is usually seen destroying or ruining the show's titular location (usually by accident), no matter how many times Dexter tells her to stay away from it. Dexter is endlessly annoyed by Dee Dee and sees her as a nuisance.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: Ed is a dim-witted oaf who can rarely do anything right on his own. His younger sister Sarah, while not exactly mature herself, functions much better and, as a result, is more likely to be the one in charge. Their friend Rolf outright admits that he views Sarah as Ed's keeper, which Sarah doesn't deny.
  • The Loud House:
    • Leni, the second-eldest Loud sibling, is ditzy and uncoordinated, so she comes off as less mature than most of her nine younger siblings, especially Lincoln (who's the middle kid and is very strategic and logical) and Lisa (who's the second-youngest but a genius).
    • Because Lisa is a genius and because she hardly expresses emotion, even the most mature of her older siblings sometimes appear childish in comparison. Lucy, the fifth-youngest and another stoic, sometimes makes her older siblings appear childish in comparison but not as often as Lisa.
    • Downplayed for Lynn, who's the fifth-eldest sibling. She can sometimes act childish (like being a bad winner and riding her bike indoors) but usually acts her age, and again, she more only seems childish in contrast to her more mature younger siblings.
  • Pepper Ann: Because of her habit of causing trouble for others and blowing things out of proportion, Pepper Ann ends up being the more childish one in comparison to her younger sister Moose.
  • In Regular Show, everybody assumes Don is the older brother of Rigby because Don has his life in order with a steady, professional job, is more personable, popular with his friends, and much taller than Rigby. The confusion manifested in the form of a significant, life-long resentment on Rigby's end against Don.
  • The Simpsons: Bart is perhaps the most well-known example in all of television. He's a lazy troublemaker who constantly pulls pranks or makes petty taunts. His younger sister Lisa is studious and responsible, and his other younger sister Maggie is Wise Beyond Their Years.
  • Steven Universe: Ronaldo Fryman slacks off at work, constantly pursues conspiracy theories that nobody else takes seriously, and can generally be very temperamental and egotistical. His younger brother, Peedee, on the other hand, is much more responsible and levelheaded. Despite all this, Peedee actually has a pretty high opinion of his older brother.

    Real Life 

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