11 Moms Share the Best Thing Their Older Child Taught Their Youngest
These moms share how older children guided their younger siblings.
By Judy Koutsky
Siblings have their trying moments -- teasing, fighting, and wanting exactly what the other has the moment they have it -- but older siblings can also be great role models for their younger brothers and sisters. "Older siblings are important because they pave the way; they try everything first so that their younger siblings make fewer mistakes,” says child psychologist Susan Bartell, PsyD. “Also, older kids are often protectors. They help a younger sibling negotiate disagreements with parents and can also give advice on challenging problems that can arise with their friends.” Here, 11 moms share the most important thing their older child taught their younger one.
1. “My boys often fight -- they are 3 and 5 -- but the younger one still adores the older one, and every once in a while, the older one uses this power for good. The other day, when we were crossing the street, my older one said, ‘Marc, you have to hold hands each and every time we cross the street.’ Of course, I tell Marc this constantly, but having his big brother saying it makes it law.” -- Lisa, mom of two kids
2. “Both of my daughters are in gymnastics. My older one is talented -- she’s won many medals. The younger one, not so much. What I love, though, is that my older one does it for love, not the awards. It makes her happy to master a flip or learn a new routine. Without voicing it, she passed that passion to my younger one. So even though the younger one has yet to win a medal -- heck, she’s one of the weakest on the team -- she loves going each week.” -- Maryanne, mom of two kids
3. “My older son is autistic; he’s nonverbal. My younger son is always looking out for his big brother. My older son’s condition has made my younger son a compassionate person.” -- Denise, mom of two kids
4. “My 5-year-old is in a ‘hate’ phase. He says he hates everything: school, homework, and me. My 7-year-old told him, ‘You can hate everything except Mom.’ I love his loyalty. Now, his younger brother no longer says he hates me (although he continues to hate everything else).” -- Marge, mom of two kids
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5. “I have one son and three daughters. The best thing my son taught his younger sisters? To ignore boys.” -- Michelle, mom of four kids
6. “My two daughters are inseparable. They often get mistaken for twins, to which my older one replies, ‘We aren’t twins, but we’re lucky to be sisters.’” -- Nanci, mom of two kids
7. “Our dog died. It was hard on everyone, but especially our youngest. My older son explained how doggy heaven works. His compassion was really sweet.” -- Lorraine, mom of six kids
8. “While my daughter was an excellent language model for her younger brother, she wasn't the best speech model. But listening to his sister work on her 'R' sound in the car, at home, and every place in between, created an environment of expectation. As a speech language pathologist and his mom, I got almost no resistance when I felt it was time for my son to work on his speech-sound errors." -- Jessica, mom of two kids
9. “Everything was difficult for my younger one -- school, making friends -- and my older one saw that and was always by his side. That teamwork mentality is the best gift.” -- Evy, mom of four kids
10. “My older daughter gives the younger siblings the lowdown on the teachers -- which ones are hard, which ones give lots of homework, which to avoid.” -- Maddy, mom of five kids
11. “The best thing my easygoing son taught my very serious daughter was to have fun. He showed her to ease up and not stress so much. I wish I could learn that lesson.” -- Zoe, mom of three kids
What were the most valuable lessons your older child taught his sister or brother?
Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of Parenting.com, AOL Parent and BabyTalk.com. Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.
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