Writing Realistic Siblings

A lot of siblings in novels…aren’t very realistic. There are exceptions, such as the March sisters in Little Women and the Weasley family from Harry Potter. Here are a few tips to keep your siblings realistic.

Siblings do NOT call each other “bro” or “sis”

Just…no. No one actually says this. Siblings call each other by their real names or family nicknames.

Make fun of parents together

This is especially true when siblings as a group are angry with one or both of their parents. They’ll mock them or just talk to each other about how annoying they are.

Gossip about people at school/at other interactions

Similar to the prior tip, siblings tend to talk about other people outside of their family. If someone does something strange or annoying, siblings are often the first people to know.

Complain about other siblings

If your character has more than one sibling, this one is pretty common. Siblings can take sides in an argument and talk about the other sibling(s) in a negative way. People aren’t perfect and there are definitely things people don’t like about others.

Will annoy them just for the sake of annoying them

If you’re a sibling, you’re probably guilty of this. A character might take their sibling’s clothes/book/toy repeatedly just to annoy them.

Competitive with each other

This doesn’t go for every family, but most siblings are incredibly competitive, and not just about school or sports. It can be about how many times their parent(s) has scolded them that day or how many candy wrappers they have hidden in their room.

Help each other with homework/warn the younger sibling about a teacher

This is a big one if siblings go to the same school. Also—helping a sibling with homework doesn’t always mean cheating on it! Some older siblings might try to teach their younger sibling(s) the lesson if the teacher didn’t do a good job, and especially try to warn them about a certain teacher who gives pop quizzes every Friday or something similar.

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