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Big sister tired of little sister being 'better than her'

(8 Posts)
Leafmould Tue 14-May-13 00:46:22

There are a few specific thing...

Little sister is a few levels ahead in swimming, and achieved last few gym badges befor big sis too.
little sis finds lots of things easy to just pick up, like reading, music, etc, an although big sis is bright, gets praise she does have to work harder, and struggles to concentrate on the task in hand.
I have had the 'I don't compare you' type of conversation with her, which she said helped her, but does any one have any other experience to share or suggestions?

Startail Tue 14-May-13 01:13:18

DD1 is dyslexic and finds making friends difficult
DD2 is her polar opposite, best reader in the class and loads of friends.

We had from Y2ish a "No points scoring rule"

DD2 was absolutely banned from any smug comments. DD1 got bullied enough at school. I was not going to tolerate it at home.

This worked both ways there was an equal ban on DD1(who is three years older and much bigger) retaliating either physically or with words.

DD1 is very tolerant, but when she'd had enough DD2 was liable to get hurt. On a good day she just got thumped, on a bad day she'd get some choice words back. DD1 is very bright beneath her quirky exterior and DD2 much less confident than she likes to pretend.

If they were allowed to fight it did not end well and it was liable to be DD2 who lost.

DD2 go to your room until you want to be nice, or separate rooms now (if they were both arguing) were often heard in this house.

They are now 12 and 15 and rub along very nicely, I have to intervene very rarely. They have their own friends and hobbies and appreciate each others good points and accept each others weaknesses.

Sunnysummer Tue 14-May-13 05:09:26

With 4 girls in the family we often had these types of issues... And each of us wished we were good at what our sisters could do better, whether that was sport or music or really rocking a long fringe wink

To some extent this is unavoidable, but our parents dealt with it (whether intentionally as they say now, or due to limited funds from having a big family!) by letting us choose just one extracurricular activity each, giving us 'specialities' from fairly early.

Does your DD1 have a particular strength that she could take her own classes in without DD2? Or someone like a godparent who could take her out sometimes for her own special time?

DharmaBumpkin Tue 14-May-13 05:37:59

Remind her that just because little sis is 'good' at swimming, doesn't make her 'bad'. Draw a continuum, from non - swimmer to Olympic swimmer, and put them both on it (and make sure they are both on the good side!)

Remind her of the things she does better than little sis... There must be some! If she's not so academic etc, is she kind? Patient? A good listener? The very fact she's still going with these activities shows she's got pretty impressive determination!

Tell her about a friend of yours from high school who wasn't particularly good at stuff, but worked really really hard to get her B grades, and is now an (insert job impressive to big sis) environmental architect who loves what she does oh wait that's my friend

I really do believe, as someone who has a 'child genius' brother with no work ethic, that native intelligence is vastly overrated. Those are some of the things I wish my parents had said to me. The continuum one especially - because my brother was 'the clever one', I assumed that I must be the stupid one... It took me years to work out that actually I was quite bright too smile

DeWe Tue 14-May-13 09:36:26

Don't let little sister always do what big sister does. Give her space. Just because big sister decides to do netball (or whatever) doesn't mean that little sister starts it too. That way big sister can carve a niche out for herself without feeling little sister is snapping at her heels.

If they start something together, or little sister just after big sister, don't exclaim how amazing it is that little sister can do it when she is only X years old. The younger ones do gain skills the older ones have simply because they have the opportunity.

Don't encourage the older by knocking down the younger. It won't ring true to the older and will encourage the competition. I'm not sure saying "I don't compare you" totally helps because there is always a slight humiliated feeling that others (even with no evidence) are saying "#2 is beating her big sister".

Try and encourage them into different groups when they go to things if possible. Don't push the younger up, or older down (in age groups) so they can be on their own.

If there is something that the older is better, don't push the younger to do it. Because actually the older can't win. If the younger isn't as good it's because they are however many years younger and will catch up (in the older one's eyes).

If the older one achieves something the younger one doesn't, don't justify why the younger one didn't get it. Just celebrate the older one's success (and same for the other way round)

These are all things I found trying growing up.

I was the middle one. Dc1 was all round bright. Good at everything regarded as academic. I knew I couldn't catch up with her. Dc3 was touted as a child genius. Everything he did was treated with amazement. I felt I wasn't able to compete with either. So I didn't try. I felt it was better to fail not having tried, rather than work hard and still not do as well. Because then I could always pretend I might have done as well if I'd worked.

I was very one sided. I could do maths and only maths. And actually I was far and away better at it than the other two. But it was never commented about. I remember talking with friends before we did our GCSEs and them saying how their parents would be pleased if they got good results and one turned to me and asked and I replied "If I've done as well as dc1 then they'll say "good, now you'll have to do as well as them at Alevels" but I probably won't do as well." And I thought to myself "and dc3 will do much better".
Actually I did better than both of them, but that never registered until adult years.

I was also majorly into a sport I was fairly good at, and I was musical, which the other two were definitely not. Dc1 wasn't interested, but dc3 had to do exactly what I did. Looking back, again I cn see that I was clearly better than dc3 from the beginning and all through, but it was never stated. He was always doing brilliantly considering he was so much younger than me... I think if they'd encouraged dc3 to do a different sport and instrument, I would have felt a lot less threatened.

Leafmould Tue 14-May-13 15:35:44

wow, some really interesting comments here.

thank you for taking the time to post. i am at work at the moment, so i will write back later on once i'm home and resting!

custardismyhamster Tue 14-May-13 22:12:50

Can you praise effort not achievement? So well done DD1, you revised really well for that test, I'm so proud of you-ad same for DD2. Cos if they get something by coasting, well-shouldn't they be trying hard instead?

Leafmould Tue 14-May-13 22:42:22

Ok, so I can try the following things

*Talk about achieving things through hard work and determination being different from picking things up easily, and the potential reward being greater, because you always worked for it you don't give up when it gets difficult.

*Spend some time observing their good qualities, and praise them with examples.

*Try to differentiate their activities so that they can have their own special field.

*Unfortunately they don't have godparents, but big sis does like church, so I might see if I can take her sometimes separately from little sis who likes a lie in!

Little sis is really very sensitive, and does not do any of the ner ner ni ner ner stuff she could in her position. I did think carefully before starting them on different instruments. However I now have them both saying they want to do the other instrument as well! I think limiting the extra curricular activities would be good all round as I think that they are now doing too many. I simply don't have time to encourage the necessary practise for 3 activities.

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