Physician and author Dr. Gabor Maté was asked why siblings can be so strikingly different, and the TikTok video went viral.
Dr. Gabor Maté is a Hungarian-Canadian family doctor who specializes in childhood development, trauma, and the impact of various kinds of illnesses on physical and mental health. Recently he was asked by Canadian writer and radio talk show host Dahlia Kurtz about why children raised in the same family can turn out so differently. An except of that interview went viral on TikTok.
Maté’s response focused on 3 main reasons why siblings can be so different. Each one allows us to reflect on how this can play out in a family and a child’s life.
1. Siblings come into the world with different temperments
We each come into the world with a different temperament, and this affects how we interact with others — including our parents. So, as Maté says, even though parents may love their children equally, they will not respond to their children the same way, because each person brings out different things in us, and evokes different feelings and responses. This will also be true when it comes to relatives, teachers, friends, and even strangers.
2. No two children have the same parents
Parents are humans who change — they are affected by what happens to them and go through different experiences throughout their lives. Additionally, their relationship with each other changes. Their marriage goes through its own evolution, ups and downs, struggles and joys. All of this impacts each child as he or she grows up.
3. No two children are raised in the same family
When the oldest is born, they are the sole child, with no one else competing for their parents’ attention, and no other child to interact with or relate to. That changes when a sibling comes along. And then that second child has a different experience than the first because he or she is not an only child, and so on and so on. Birth order, as well as all the dynamics that impact a family affect each child differently.
So the experience each child has within the same family is often very different. Many people clearly relate to this, as evidenced by the popularity of the TikTok video and the thousands of comments it received.