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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two girls -- ages 11 and 9. Dd#1 has, for some time, cast a bit of a big shadow for her younger sister. We are working on finding things for dd#2 to shine in that her sister does not do and where she won't be compared to her sister.

Dd#1 now has an opportunity to travel abroad next year with a school group. Putting aside whether we want to send a 12 y/o (next year) overseas, her sister is totally ticked about the possibility of her sister "getting" one more thing that she does not.

Some of the things that dd#1 "gets" are due to her being older -- eligibility for some programs, etc. depend on age. Some are due to her just being a really good student who has gotten a lot of accolades.

Would you consider not letting one child do something b/c it was a tremendous blow to your other child?
 

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Would you consider not letting one child do something b/c it was a tremendous blow to your other child?
no. Why should DD#1 miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime just because DD#2 is feeling put out?

I'd take time to spend with DD#2 & point out all the things that she can do & that she will be able to do when she is older. They do not have to be academic.

Plan a special trip for just DD#2 for when DD#1 is gone(presuming she's not gone the entire year, just a couple of weeks) with DD#2's input.

DD#2 is ALWAYS going to be compared to DD#1 until she's out of school. It's something she is going to have to learn to deal with.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

Would you consider not letting one child do something b/c it was a tremendous blow to your other child?
No, but I would try and do something special for the child left behind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm feeling as well that I don't want to deny dd#1 things b/c it is hard for her sister. However, to give a bit more background, dd#1 really has had a lot of opportunities that her sister may not have. Dd#1 skipped a grade in school, did an residential program at a university when she was dd#2's age & is applying for a scholarship that would pay for future summer programs of that sort. She took, and did quite well on, the SAT recently for the scholarship application.

She has a lead role in a play at school, is in the honor choir, travels with the choir for festivals, scuba dives, has had poetry published, gotten awards from "talent search," has had her photography displayed in a local gallery... She's a pretty neat kid and gets a lot of attention. Honestly, it probably sucks to be her little sister.

Dd#2 is very capable as well but she seems to have given up on competing in virtually any arena b/c dd#1 is good at a lot of things. There aren't a lot of areas where dd can do things that her sister hasn't already been very successful.

I don't know if we can come up with the $ for this trip and I don't know if I want to send a 12 y/o to Europe without us so I don't know if this is going to happen anyway. I do know that dd#2 is very offended that her sister may be able to do yet one more thing that she cannot at this time, though. I would, of course, try to find something else for her for that week if it did happen. This summer when dd#1 is doing a week long oceanography class, we are enrolling dd#2 in an acting camp, for instance.
 

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It is tough having a brilliant sister, and this is something she is going to have to deal with and hopefully use as a means to grow as a person. As long as your younger DD feels loved and valued for who she is, I am sure she will be fine. Is there anything that she does well that her sister doesn't that could be heavily encouraged? Something that doesn't involve academics, maybe something more physical, athletic perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post
Is there anything that she does well that her sister doesn't that could be heavily encouraged? Something that doesn't involve academics, maybe something more physical, athletic perhaps?
Unfortunately, she's really not an athletic kid. I really think that the area she would shine would be in acting b/c she is a natural ham. That's why we're giving a try with an acting camp this summer. Her sister acts, too, but more in musical theatre and dd#2 isn't interested in singing so it might just be different enough. Dd#1 really isn't as natural of an actress as dd#2, but she is very comfortable in her own skin & that confidence helps her do well on stage.
 

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Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
There aren't a lot of areas where dd can do things that her sister hasn't already been very successful.

I don't really believe this is true. There are infinite possibilities: becoming a clown, making costumes for the theater, becoming the babysitter everyone wants to hire, starting her own business, being an exceptionally good friend, caring for animals, learning to play the fiddle, web design, baking, etc. etc. etc. I'm not saying your daughter will be interested in these exact same things, but there will be something she enjoys and does well that her sister doesn't.

I agree it can be a drag to be in the shadow, but attempting to hamper the first one won't resolve the problem. If you had an exceptionally beautiful daughter I can't imagine you'd disfigure her so as to make the average looking younger daughter feel better about it. Refusing to let your daughter participate in opportunities so as not to hurt the younger one's feeling is really the same thing. Of course you continue to be compassionate and have honest discussions and efforts to support the younger one, but really that's all you can do.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
. There aren't a lot of areas where dd can do things that her sister hasn't already been very successful.
WHAT????
This sounded really bad, and I bet it was not your intention.

I have two close spaced daughters as well and even though they're still very young (5&4) I can see with what you are dealing with. At first we decided that the girls were going to participate in the same activities. So we enrolled both in dance and karate.
DD2 was having a hard time with dance, and her sister was taking all the credits, while DD1 hated karate and couldn't even do a move well. So DD1 is the dancer of the family and DD2 takes the price in martial arts.

They like different things, one of them is really into sciences and the other one is into writing, reading, etc. One of them likes to draw the other one loves to work with clay. I hardly doubt your DD1 is good at everything, your DD2 can shine too.
There are tons of activities your DD2 can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I wasn't meaning to sound like dd#2 had nothing at which she could succeed. The reality is that their areas of interest and abilities are actually fairly similar. What differs is that dd#1 is older (obviously), so she is more accomplished at a lot due to her age, and they have very different personalities.

Neither girl likes sports. They both like art, acting, writing, and some other things. They are both very bright. Dd#1 just was in the same school first and had a lot of people noticing her so dd#2 has often been "[dd#1]'s sister" rather than someone who is evaluated in her own right. The things she wants to do and the things that she is likely to be good at given her innate talents are things that her sister has already succeeded at. She is, therefore, not trying much b/c she feels unable to succeed to the degree her sister has.

eta: this is part of the reason that we are working toward homeschooling dd#2.
 

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My youngest also has large shoes to fill. The older is kind of a "renaissance man" kind of person. There is little he's not good at (except athletics). But she has her own strengths that I encourage her to play to. Also, I strongly encourage her brother to be one of her biggest fans - it helps that they are actually really good friends, AND that he is extremely humble (i.e. even when angry, it would never occur to him to throw something in her face).

There are millions of things that your younger could excel in. She just needs to find the one(s) she enjoys. And... she needs to be encouraged to be the best SHE can be, and not concern herself in trying to compete with her sister.
 

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It's annoying for your second daughter, but she also needs to realize that DD1 doesn't just "get" to do these things, she earned the right to do them. My sister was also super talented and my parents, who would later divorce and go broke, wanted to give her lots of opportunities. She got to go to Space Camp (still jealous!), take trips to Washington D.C., Britain (not jealous of that one anymore - I live there now!), and in general just do lots of extra stuff. I know my parents fully intended to give me the same opportunities, but things went south and it just didn't work out that way.

So yeah, it sucks, but DD2 just needs some perspective. Does DD1 rub it in her face at all? Or is it more that DD2 just hasn't found her "thing" yet? Once she finds her passion, I bet she won't care what DD1 is good at anymore. Encourage her exploration of different things. Don't push anything on her, just give her the opportunity to check out various hobbies and find what she loves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, dd#1 isn't a braggart and doesn't go out of her way to make dd#2 feel bad. We are already working on helping dd#2 find her own paths. My bigger issue here was whether my initial inclination to consider allowing dd#1 to go on this trip (if we can find a way to fund it) despite it making dd#2 rather upset was reasonable.
 

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If you don't let her go on this trip for her sister's sake, what will you do the next time this comes up?

This is a tough situation, but it sounds like it may be an ongoing feature of your family dynamic. I agree with a PP who suggested framing it as DD#1 worked for it, as from previous posts of yours I wonder if your DD#2 thinks that DD#1 doesn't have to work for stuff.

Hang on...this is something that's happening by virtue of the grade DD#1 is in? If so, then I think it's tough beans for DD#2, but that this issue of perception still needs addressing.

If you can't homeschool next year, could DD#2 attend a different school and forge her own course?
 

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I would sit down with dd#2 and just really explore her interests and what there is in your general area that will help her blossom. if she is into music- can you check if there is a Girls Rock camp near you? Or clown school/circus arts, as someone mentioned. Maybe she is very emphathetic and wants to start her own fundraiser to raise money for something she believes in. Or art camps or programs, wilderness camps or programs, take up an instrument, special dance classes, writing programs, photography, horseback riding, etc.

It is amazing to me just how many different programs there are out there for young ones today. She definitely needs something that is going to be just hers, that she can shine in without feeling like she is in her sister's shadow.

I do not advocate dd1 missing out on anything due to her younger sister's jealousy, however I think it is very important for you to help foster some separate interests w/ dd2.

Not to sound like I was a perfect child because I was far from it, but my older sister and I kind of had this dynamic. We would both go out for the same kinds of activities and I would excel and she would just be, I guess, pretty average. It was really tough on her, but she also punished me alot for it by just being generally mean and insulting constantly. We are close now, but it was pretty tough when we were adolescents and teens.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post

Would you consider not letting one child do something b/c it was a tremendous blow to your other child?
For small things - yes.

Both my DD's are in guiding. My oldest went to winter camp with her troop, and younger DD was invited to go along by one of the leaders. I declined (younger DD did not know about the invitation). Older DD needs some stuff without younger sister.

For a big item I would not make one child miss out so another child would not feel left out. I would work hard to make sure the younger child had the same opportunities as the older child when her time came - but even that is no guarantee. Sometimes opportunities dry up, or the competition for spots is fierce that year, etc.

I do try and think outside the box with regards to opportunities to shine. Some people are academic, some sporty, some arty -etc. Do not get locked into only seeking out one kind of opportunity.

Edited to add: read the responses. I do think HSing or changing schools may help if your younger DD is amenable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They are no longer in the same school and haven't been for 1.5 yrs. Dd#1 is a middle schooler (7th grade) while dd#2 is still in elementary. She is attending the elementary that her sister attended for one year, though. That one year seemed to be enough for everyone to know who her sister is, unfortunately. We are doing some subjects at home for her and may do them all at home come middle school. I don't want to change elementaries for her, though, for a lot of reasons. She only has the rest of this year and next until she's done with elementary anyway & this is her 3rd elementary.
 

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Interestingly enough, I had a related conversation with my Mom today. A lot is in the perception of things... I was the youngest child. My brother is 2 1/2 years older than I am. My son is 2 1/2 years older than my daughter. So there's that parallel. My boy is graduating HS this June, and we are in the midst of college visits, decisions, etc. So yeah, a lot of my focus is on him and his future. (Which is not to say I am ignoring my girl.)

My mother was telling me how she sees history repeating itself and how poor daughter is stuck like I was, dealing with everyone paying attention to the older, blah, blah blah and how hard it must be fore her.

Now yes, I do remember my bro getting this award, that recognition, the other offer of this or that. But.... I really didn't care. I was happy for my brother, and I didn't begrudge him the accolades. I had my own stuff going on.

My kids seem to be somewhat in between where bro & I were, and where you describe your girls being. My daughter is truly happy for her brother, but she also has some resentment wrt the attention he's getting. It can be a bit of a rough road to navigate. Especially since he tends to be very supportive (both physically and verbally) of her endeavors.

Encourage your younger daughter to find things that she enjoys. She doesn't need to be a star. All she needs is to enjoy herself. The rest will come.
 

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I don't mean this to sound harsh, but it sounds as though you are very enamored with the older daughter and feeling that there isn't much left for the younger one to succeed at is a pretty negative mentality. I'm sure you are frustrated with the younger daughter giving up on things, but I would encourage her to do whatever interests her, regardless of ability. I assume you've read Siblings Without Rivalry, but if you haven't you should check it out. It is really important to pay attention to whatever it is that your younger daughter is doing or enjoying, whether or not she is good at it. I think denying your older daughter the trip would make things worse. The older daughter would resent the missed opportunity and the younger daughter would realize what was going on and become more of a "victim" of her "perfect" sister. I would try and take the attitude, "what does your sister have to do with you." And if she continues to compare, you need to refuse to engage. What she does should be her own thing, without having to think about her sister, that's the area she needs help with from a parent.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sweetiemommy View Post
I don't mean this to sound harsh, but it sounds as though you are very enamored with the older daughter and feeling that there isn't much left for the younger one to succeed at is a pretty negative mentality. I'm sure you are frustrated with the younger daughter giving up on things, but I would encourage her to do whatever interests her, regardless of ability.
Not the OP, but wanted to chime in to say that this isn't what I see of the OP in previous posts regarding DD#2. IIRC, there's a complicated history of testing and "under performance," and difficulty with the school seeing DD#2's abilities and complexities. I don't think this messaging to DD#2 is coming from her parents, but rather the school that measures her against DD#1 and doesn't see that she may be twice exceptional in some pretty subtle ways.

Christa, DD is the oldest and has had it easier in many ways than DS. DS is 2E but recently has made some dramatic shifts and gains. I think he's going to surprise us all when he matures into himself a bit. I hope your DD#2 has this experience.
 

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My sister and I had a similar dynamic. While I resented her for it a bit growing up and honestly we didn't get along all that well as teans due to my jealousy as adults we really respect and enjoy each other. You need to just continue what you are doing and meet each girl where they are.
 
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