Siblings Raising Siblings

Everyone having breakfast before school.

Another hardship the family went through was not having stable parents. The family was almost always being raised by Fiona. Their mother abandoned them when they were all very young. This left them with their father who was rarely sober enough to take care of them like a real father should. In Shameless it is quite evident how stressful it is to be raising her younger siblings. Part of her wants to go off and do her own thing because she is old enough to be dependent and start her own life. Another part of her feels this obligation and need to stay with her younger siblings and take care of them because she knows her parents won’t. When it comes to older siblings raising younger siblings there are a lot of complications or rough patches. In Am I My Brother’s Keeper: Adult Siblings Raising Younger Siblings expresses that “When an older sibling assumes care for younger siblings, questions of whether to maintain a sibling-to-sibling relationship or begin a parent/sibling-to- sibling relationship loom.” (Denby and Ayala, 193) This basically states that the older sibling needs to decide on whether to keep the sibling relationship or become more of a parental figure. This can be hard because often siblings are supposed to be your friends but when that friend turns into your parent it often becomes hard for the other siblings to be as open as they once were. This can add a lot of stress and strain on the relationships within the family. During Shameless we can see Fiona struggle with this every now and then. An example would be like when Debby her younger sister gets her period. She doesn’t exactly go straight to Fiona and tell her instead she kind of hides it. Before

Fiona taking care of Liam.

Fiona had become the legal guardian of the kids her and Debby were very close and they would basically talk about everything together. Another thing that can play a big role in stressing out the family is the respect the older sibling will demand now that they have taken over the parent’s role. In Shameless the kids show very little to know respect towards Fiona. They do this because they still see her as their sister and not their parent. This causes Fiona to be upset at times because she is only hard on them because she wants what’s best for them. Even though you don’t hear about siblings raising siblings its actually a pretty big part of caregivers in the United States. In Am I My Brother’s Keeper: Adult Siblings Raising Younger Siblings states that “Adult siblings raising their younger siblings is a family configuration that rarely comes to mind; yet, in the United States adult siblings are the third largest relative caregiver group.” (Denby and Ayala, 193) This goes to show how Shameless hits a very harsh standard in the United States. Not only is the family poor and has parents that are both alcoholics and addicted to drugs and nowhere to be found but the kids are being raised by their older sister.  Through all of this the family stays together and does really well for the most part. Shameless shows that even with the toughest circumstances a family can stick together.