10 Things Only Latinos with Siblings Will Understand

Portrait of Latina sisters

Family is a core part of Latino culture and many Latinos are blessed with big ones. Thank God for that cause we can all agree that growing up with siblings is better than being an only child. No offense to only children, but having brothers and sisters simply makes things more interesting. For better or worse, sharing your childhood with siblings leaves you with heartwarming, funny, and unique memories. Not to mention you get to create your own world, understanding, and traditions with them. Here are 10 things only Latinos with siblings will understand:

The Power of the Chancla

Still from the Disney film Coco

Image Credit: All rights reserved Disney

Chancla, also known as a flip-flop, is an infamous piece of footwear in Latino homes and a key (dreaded) feature in every Latino childhood. When your mamá reached for the chancla, you and your siblings knew it was time to behave or else. The mere warning of it being picked up was enough to get your act together. Even if you wanted to get your sibling into a bit of trouble, the chancla was a step too far.

The Unspoken Rule of Sharing

siblings sharing a bowl of popcorn

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In a Latino family, sharing isn’t just encouraged; it’s expected. Whether it’s food, clothes, or even your bed, we grow up learning to share everything with our siblings. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have a hidden caché of things we didn’t want to share or that it didn’t take some convincing from our parents sometimes, especially when it came to sharing the TV or our favorite video games. But most of the time, all it took was sharing a knowing look between siblings.

Fights Over the Last Bit of Abuela's Cooking

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If you grew up in a Latino household, you know that abuela's cooking is sacred. Whether it's her famous arroz con pollo or that delicious marble cake that melts in your mouth, there was always a little fight over who got the last bit. Remember negotiating, distracting, or outright manipulating your siblings to get your way? And you kept track of how many times each of you won, so it was a fun competition too. Victory was always so sweet!

The Art of Blaming Each Other

three young girls sitting on the ground in front of a buildingPhoto by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash

Latino siblings usually love each other, but that doesn’t mean betrayal was out of the question when you were kids. Whether something broke at home or someone was brought to tears, you didn’t want to be the one to be targeted by the chancla. So the blame game was sort of an Olympic sport for you and your siblings. You probably perfected the innocent eyes while pointing the finger at each other.

Going on Midnight Snack Adventures

a girl opening the refrigerator at midnight

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Late-night hunger knows no bounds, especially when you have siblings to share it with. The thing is that after mamá cleaned the kitchen and went to bed, no one was supposed to mess around. That turned midnight snacks into a covert operation that required you to recruit your siblings or vice versa. From raiding the fridge for delicious leftovers to secretly eating all the snacks, these midnight adventures are some of your most cherished memories.

The Silent Communication During Family Gatherings

Two Latina girls posing for photo

Photo by Jorge Salvador on Pexels

Family gatherings are a whole different ball game when you’re Latino because there are a lot of strong personalities under one roof. When you were a kid, navigating those gatherings with your siblings was quite an art form. Unavoidably, you developed the most effective silent communication. With only one look, subtle nod, or raised eyebrow, you could let your siblings know you wanted to escape Aunt María’s endless stories or sneak away to play with the cousins.

The Importance of “Respect Your Elders”

Two teenage sisters posing for photo

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One of the many values Latinos learn from a very early age is to respect one’s elders. Growing up, older siblings looked out for younger ones to ensure everyone followed this rule and understood the importance of it. Especially when dealing with abuelos because disrespect just wasn’t an option. If you were the older sibling, you probably remember taking this role seriously. If you were younger, you’re probably grateful for all the times your sibling saved you.

Being Each Other's Biggest Supporters

Latina sisters sharing a moment

Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels

Through thick and thin, siblings are always there to support and uplift each other. Even if you didn’t always get along with your siblings, you could always count on them to get you out of a pickle. That probably carried over to adulthood and you still count on your siblings for support in many different ways. It’s the beauty of the Latino tight-knit family dynamic; no matter what mess you get into, your family will be there.

The Shared Experience of Novelas

character of Latino Telenovela

Growing up, watching telenovelas with your family was a ritual no one wanted to skip. You and your siblings would get sucked in by the drama whether you wanted to or not. There’s just no denying there’s something very engaging and compelling about novelas. Whether it’s the dramatic acting, toxic relationships, or the messy plots, once you get started, you don’t want to look away. So even if you disavow novelas as an adult, you will always remember enjoying them with your siblings and family.

Fierce Loyalty No Matter What

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Despite any arguments or fights you get into as siblings, Latinos are fiercely loyal. “Don’t mess with my sister (or brother)” is the kind of sentiment Latinos can easily relate to. If anyone inside or outside the family tried to hurt them, you would stand up and defend them with everything you had. They did the same for you and that’s a big part of the beauty of having siblings to rely on.

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