I’ve been feeling like I’m too hard on my older daughter lately. I know I’ve written previously about how unequally divided my time felt, so I went back and reread it. Almost 18 months later and I could write the same post. How does this happen? How can I fix it? I promise you, sweet girl, that I don’t expect you to be anything more than just what you are. But, I find myself shouting, “You know better!” and “You’re older!” and “Please just share.” to (at) her so often. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

She takes such pride in her role as big sister. She loves nobody more on this planet than her little sister. And I so love that about her. The two of them are legitimately partners in crime and I am so grateful for that bond.

Sister love.

However, as I’ve said before, she is quick to bend to the will of her little sister, simply to make her happy. And little sis is more than willing to take advantage of this. They fall squarely into Big Sister (caretaker) and Little Sister (helpless/spoiled) stereotypes and I wonder if that is something I should or can mitigate at all. I think I can, because I think I play a large role in pushing my older daughter to be responsible, selfless, caring, and patient but not putting the same emphasis on those traits with my younger daughter. My baby! I mean, I actually CALL THEM My Big Girl and My Baby.

Good grief, Stephanie.

What I am afraid of is that these labels will drive a wedge between them as they get older. I don’t want them to resent each other for perceived attributes. Jeez, as I’m writing this I see that THIS IS ALL MY FAULT.

I have got to be more conscious of how I address them. I need to hold my younger daughter more accountable. She isn’t a baby anymore. She certainly screams, “I CAN DO IT MYSELF!” at me enough. Time for a bit of tough love (omg my baaaaaybeeee).

Look at that tiny infant!

And for my older girl. I need to remember that she is not even two whole years older than her sister. The sister I rock to sleep every night while I expect her to fall asleep on her own. She is only five and I need to let her make mistakes and know that it is okay to be a little bit selfish sometimes.

Best big sis.

I need to rock her sometimes, too. I think I’ll start tonight.

4 thoughts on “Labels

  1. I can totally relate. My older daughter’s newest catch phrase comes straight from me telling her to “not make a big deal out of it” in situations that will upset her sister.

  2. I hear you loud and clear on this. I often look at my littlest and compare how I treat her and what I expect from her vs. how I treated my oldest at that age and it makes me sad 😦 It’s hard to stop because he just seems so BIG all the time. It makes me understand the discrepancy in how my parents treated my brother (younger) and I (older)…

  3. I really like this! Our kids are only 15 months apart, but between the age and my daughter’s special needs, sometimes my little guy also has a bunch of extra responsibility (like for clean-up.) That said, sometimes the world revolves around him too. I think it’s tough, to teach kids to be mindful of what their younger siblings are capable of developmentally without letting the wee ones wrap the universe around their tiny little fingers.

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