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<p>Hi, my daughters are 8.5 years apart, and for the most part they get along well and love each other. My almost 2 year old is a very busy toddler, and of course wants to do what she sees her big sister doing, and loves playing in my oldest daughter's room and getting into her things.</p>
<p>My oldest has started talking to her in a mean tone of voice and telling her "NO" while grabbing things away from the little one when she takes her things to play with. I remind her to be kind to her sister, that she's just learning, to be gentle, and to keep her things out of little one's reach by putting them in the drawers where they belong. I realize that my oldest needs her own space for her own things, and she has it, but she keeps them laying out where little one can see and reach.</p>
<p>I just don't like the tone of voice she uses with her sister, and I want her to stop saying 'NO' constantly when she's with her little sister. How can I help her realize that toddlers are just super curious about everything and get her to be kinder? I feel like a broken record some days.</p>
<p>I don't talk to her that way; my older daughter must pick it up from school or her friends, because we try to use positive reinforcements, redirecting, and kind voices.</p>
 

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<p>I guess I don't understand--- is this in your older DD's room that this is happening or in the communal living room.  If it's in your older DD's room--- is she inviting your younger DD in? </p>
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<p>If it is in the communal living area, I would simply let your older DD know that if things are left in the common area, they are assumed to be for general consumption.</p>
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<p>If it is in her room, your older DD is going to need to decide if she wants younger DD to come in (and touch her things OR have all her things put away) or to simply keep the door shut.</p>
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<p>Hi Billie:</p>
<p>Your daughter, at 10 years, is at an excellent age to start learning about socializing and living with people of different ages and abilities. She probably already knows of her toddler sisters' limited self-control, so try to cap the reminding.  (Otherwise, reminding becomes a nag!) What she needs most is validation of how hard it is to have a toddler sister getting into her stuff.  For your older daughter, acknowledge her feelings.  Say "I know it's really tough when you constantly have to put away your things because of your sister."  "It can be really trying at times to have a toddler for a sister." Yes, her logical brain tells her that her sister is only two, but her emotional brain feels that it is unfair, and maddening to have things wrecked and slobbered on. For her, just knowing that you understand and empathize with how hard it is to have a sibling, can help her understand and empathize with her sister's level of understanding. Step up the "big girl" time, by taking her out one-on-one to do big girl stuff- uninterrupted movies, ice-cream dates, bowling, etc.  Get a sitter or put partner to work caring for the younger one, and just spend time with your older daughter.  If some items are treasured and she forgets to put them away, put them away yourself, (ten year olds don't remember ALL the time) but leave out the common stuff, if she doesn't put it away.  It's natural consequences that it might get damaged or used. For your younger daughter, childproof as much as you can. She has limited self-control and hiding enticements helps to curb desire to play with them. Block access to your older daughters room and respect it as her private sanctuary.  As she heads in the teen years, this space will be even more precious and should be off limits to your younger daughter. </p>
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<p>When there is more than six years age difference between siblings, it is like parenting two different "only" children. In my family, my oldest son and youngest son are 10 years in age difference, but more importantly, they are very different personalities and temperament, and that has the biggest influence on how they get along.  At best, they could be best buddies. At the very least, I expect politeness and the same courteousness between them that our family affords outsiders.  As parents, we can hope that our children will love and respect each other, but we can't force friendship. That's up to them to work out.</p>
<p>Warmest wishes,</p>
<p>Judy Arnall</p>
<p><a href="http://www.attachmentparenting.ca" target="_blank">www.attachmentparenting.ca</a></p>
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