I’m Not My Sister

I grew up with an older sister. That meant I followed her through school, church, and 4-H activities. We even went to the same university and the same college within the university. And I still remember the day I walked into a college class and the instructor said, “Your sister would never wear that to class.” I didn’t say much but inside I was thinking, “I am NOT my sister and I will wear what I want!” You can about guess I wore interesting clothing choices for the rest of that class.

I share this story to make an important point about siblings – don’t compare your children. Don’t compare them to each other. And if you have an only child don’t compare your child to cousins or friends. Of course it is natural for you to notice that your son is more athletic and your daughter gets along better with her friends. Each will have his or her own special personality, talents, and skills. No two kids are alike and should be treated as individuals.

We might think that by comparing kids they will want to act better or work harder at perfecting a skill. That usually backfires (like it did with me). Instead kids are more apt to get jealous or think you are being unfair. Remember the Smothers brothers and their famous line, “Mom always did like you best.” Focus on finding ways to let your children know their unique qualities have nothing to do with anyone else.

And just for the record, I still don’t dress like my sister. 🙂

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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Sibling Relationships

Brothers and sisters can seem to be arch enemies one moment and best friends the next. Or maybe you’ve described it as “can’t live with them, can’t live without them”.

The good news is that while siblings fight a lot, they also learn to resolve the conflicts, this is a valuable social skill that translates well into relationships in school. Fast forward into the adult world with personal and work relationships, and you can readily see how living with siblings is a rehearsal for later life.

During July, we will talk about the benefits and challenges of siblings, stereotypes, and how siblings shape each other’s lives.

 

Sibling Relationships

 

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Lori Hayungs, M.S.

Mother of three. Lover of all things child development related. Fascinated by temperament and brain development. Professional background with families, child care providers, teachers and community service entities.

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