Younger ones can be a real pain in the behind sometimes. Especially if you have busy parents and you have to spend the most of your day trying to stop the little ones from tearing down the house. Well, I know exactly how you feel because I’ve literally raised my brother and sister. So, here’s some of my tips on how to cope with them and teach them that you are not an enemy but a friend they are supposed to listen to:
1. Make Your Own Set of Rules
When your mom and dad leave the young ones under your care, you have to play the “parent” role. I know, it can be pretty hard, especially when they are old enough to know that you “are not mommy and you can’t boss around”. However, we, the older kids, always take the fall, and if out younger bro or sis messes up something, it’s always our fault. So, yes, you have to teach them to listen to you and respect your decisions. But you have to be rational too. You can tell them to fix their beds and wash their hands before the meal but you can’t ask them to prepare food or do your chores. Kids can tell foul play!
2. Try to Understand Them
When your younger bro or sis has a problem, they should know you’re there for them. You are the older one and, if you know how to set up rules, you’ll know how to solve some problems too. Ask them about school, friends, cute boys and girls. Act like a friend, not like an interrogator. Give them some tips even if they don’t ask for them. They will start coming to you for advice pretty soon.
3. Play with Them
You’re not the mean dictator – right? So, if they have listened well and did their chores, reward them by spending time with them, playing some games or teaching them a new game. How about this - Every time they do something right, you will teach them a new interesting game. If the king is fair, the villagers are happy and they won’t have a reason to turn against him. Pretty logical.
4. Keep Their Secrets
My bro is 19 and my sis is 21 now and they still share their secrets with me. In fact, I’m usually the only one they come to when they have something to take off their chest. You need to be trustworthy so never abuse anything they tell you. No matter what happens. You’ll have a fight eventually and you might feel that knowing their secrets gives you an advantage. No! don’t go there! Never threaten to reveal their secrets if they don’t do what you told them to.
5. Reversed Psychology
Yes, this actually works! When kids are little, reversed psychology is the answer to your prayers. You can tell them “Okay, you don’t want to wash your hands, no problem! If you want to have germ infected food and belly aches, so be it!” Older kids are a bit harder to “manipulate” but, if you have successfully managed to build a healthy relationship based on trust, you won’t need to use anything – your siblings already know you wouldn’t give them a bad advice.
6. Educate Them
Your parents may be busy or too embarrassed to talk about first sexual experiences, drugs and all that. That’s where you come in! The conversation with you is more of a friendly chat than a boring/embarrassing lecture. Tell them everything they want to know and warn them about risks, dangers and everything else. Your parents will feel peaceful knowing that they have you, their big, smart, responsible kid.
7. Draw a Line
You need to set boundaries and let them know they have to give in order to get something. You’re not their slave and they can’t push you around or be rude to you and then come acting all sweet and nice asking if they could borrow something form you. This goes for kids all ages and, believe me, I often resort to this “silent treatment” with my sister because she is a typical “nervous Nelly”! If they mess up, they need to apologize! They can’t take you, or anybody else for granted.
Befriending your “little monsters” is a time-consuming process, I know. Luckily, you have you whole life in front of you and it’s never too late to give it a shot. Do you have any brothers or sisters, ladies? How well do you get along? Do you have some tips to share with me too?
Top Photo Credit: PinkStock Photos!