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My spouse and I are in disagreement about a particular parenting issue and we would like your help. What's your opinion?<br><br>
We have two children, ages 4 and 10. My spouse feels that it is okay for our oldest child to directly engage with the younger child when the older child understands the younger child to be doing something that is wrong. The "something wrong" could be anything from making a mess in the bedroom to a fight between themselves regarding what they are watching or want to watch on the TV at the time. My spouse feels that this is a good role for the older child.<br><br>
I disagree, I think that the older child should be encouraged to act as a postive role model and set an example for the younger child, but never actually directly engage in a "don't do that" type of discussion with the younger child. If there is any issue, and I mean any issue, the older child needs to seek out either parent and tell them about the issue. In my opinion, direct engagement with the younger child when the older child thinks the younger child is doing wrong creates uneccessary friction and ultimately places uneccessary and incorrect feelings between the two children. In short, discipline and parenting belongs with parents not among the children, regardless of age.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>maparent</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">In short, discipline and parenting belongs with parents not among the children, regardless of age.</div>
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I agree with you, with an exception if your younger child is doing something where he could seriously injure himself or another and he needs to be immediately stopped, for example, if he is about to run into the street and the older child is closer than you are. I think that encouraging the older child to discipline on a day to day basis could easily lead to power struggles.
 

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hmmmm, that's a tough one. Not having children your age, I'm only speaking from my fantasy future life hopes, reality hasn't hit me yet.<br><br>
I think there are no absolutes and that both you and your husband are correct. Discipline does belong with the parents, but nobody likes a tattle tale. On the other hand if there is a potentially dangerous situation you wouldn't want to train your older child to seek you out first, before stopping the little one from chasing after a ball in the street. Plus if there are small disagreements you want to encourage them to woek things out on their own.<br><br>
IMO the best bet is to come up with a compromise. Mindless things that may annoy the older kid, but aren't really "trouble" can be mediated by the parents, likewise you want to know right away if the little one is stuffing the toilet with a kleenex box. But someday in a few years the older one might be babysitting little sib, and then they are in charge. Maybe the work should be in helping the older one learn what is a real concern and what isn't worth fighting about.
 

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Linda KS said it perfectly. The parent's job is to parent. However, if there is a safety issue, the older child should know that it's appropriate to get involved.
 

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We don't allow our 12yo to parent his younger brother. Part of the reason is that our 12yo is extremely bossy and is actually not much more mature than his younger brother. If he was allowed to discipline our 9yo, he'd be on him like white-on-rice-on-a-paper-plate-with-a-glass-of-milk-in-a-snowstorm.<br><br>
I don't think there's an across the board answer. Different families have different dynamics. If my kids were 4 and 6, I wouldn't want the older one being a disciplinarian. If they were 4 and 15, I probably wouldn't mind. Mine are only 3 years apart.
 

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I was the youngest child with siblings several years older then me. I hated anytime my oldest brother corrected/disciplined me. The others mostly minded their own business, but my oldest could be really bossy and it often felt like he was trying to act as a parent. To this day we don't get along very well. It feels like we lost out on the chance to ever really be peers.<br><br>
I agree with the others - safety issues are one thing. Other than that, he is not a parent and should just be a brother. I would strongly recommend the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" to find some options that would work for your family.
 

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I have a 2 year old, who is 9 years younger than the next oldest child in the house. My other children are 12, 15 and 17.<br><br>
They do tell their brother to stop when he is doing something wrong. In some ways, I worry about it, since I don't want him to feel like he lives with all these big people and then there's little him. On the other hand, I found it's totally irrealistic to expect his siblings, who are virtually adults, to ignore his behavior and come looking for me or their dad. Plus, he often acts out for them, as a means of engaging them, and it works better for them to just tell him not to, and re-direct him.<br><br>
I feel that having a variety of people, related or not, watch out for a child is probably a more natural way of raising children. Tribal societies, extended family living, etc. seems to be more normal. In my experience, unless a very bossy older sibling was given total lee way, people that I know who have grown up in that way have not suffered, and in fact have very close relationships with their siblings and other family members.
 

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It depends on the maturity of the older child for me. Of course I think parenting is for the parents, but I do see room for the older child to be a helpful set of hands and eyes so long as it's not placed on a child who is not capable of it maturity wise or as a way for the parent to get out of it. (Obviously this is not your case at all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I also agree with the previous posts about safety issues being important too. Maybe just discuss what things are okay for the older child to engage in as an authority and what things are not. My 11 year old has been quite helpful in this area with younger ones.
 

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I think it is worse to run and tell a parent, unless the child is in danger. Tattling drives me right straight up the wall. And it definately will drive a wedge between 2 children.<br><br>
We deal with this issue somewhat as mine are 4 and 8 -- but what tends to happen is the 8 year old gets frustrated and screams at the 4 year old. We are working on this with him. A gentle comment or reminder to his brother is one thing -- and usually fine. But the expectation that he can or should get the little one to "obey" him is not okay. I encourage him to say one thing, and then "let things go" unless there is some immediate danger. They both know that I'm never more than a breath away and I will notice what the little one is doing before anyone needs to come and tell me.<br><br>
So I guess my answer is that I think its okay for the older one to "engage" the younger one by pointing out the behavior, but not to push the issue unless there is a danger. I do see it as an older sib's job to point out the rules sometimes, if the intent is to look out for the younger sib.
 

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I agree with your dh. I think that it's fine for older kids to guide younger ones as long as the maturity is there to do it well. Of course parents are parents, but we are all living in a family together.
 

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I agree more with your husband, but it depends on the maturity level of the older child. 10 is probably old enough that they won't abuse their power too much. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Would it be tattling if your child told you something about a sib that you wanted/needed to know but wouldn't find out otherwise? What if they knew their sib was smoking/doing drugs/etc.? Is it tattling when the child doing the telling has the best interest of the other child in mind and is worried about them, or only if they are trying to get the other child in trouble?<br><br>
It's funny, but my kids don't do anything I consider tattling. This thread had me wondering why, so I asked them what they do when they see the other one seeing something they aren't supposed to do.<br><br>
My older DD (who is only 19 months older) said that she makes a joke out of letting her little sister know that she is doing something she isn't supposed to, and then they laugh about it and then do something else.<br><br>
My younger DD said that the only time big sis doesn't something she isn't supposed to, she is doing something TO little sis that she doesn't like. This is a quote, "So I tell her in my words to stop, just like I do if anybody else does something or says something to me that I don't like. If they don't listen to me, then I tell you."<br><br>
Both said that they hardly ever comes up. I know this isn't because they are perfect, but because they are usually working together when they are doing something they aren't supposed to <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I also wonder if this relates to what they should do if they see a peer doing something wrong. What should your 10 year old if one of his friends does something wrong? How would that be different from what he should do if it is his little brother?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Arduinna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with your dh. I think that it's fine for older kids to guide younger ones as long as the maturity is there to do it well. Of course parents are parents, but we are all living in a family together.</div>
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i totally agree with this. i think this is how children learn how to parent.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Arduinna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with your dh. I think that it's fine for older kids to guide younger ones as long as the maturity is there to do it well. Of course parents are parents, but we are all living in a family together.</div>
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I agreee 100% with this.<br><br>
I have an only, but my youngest brother is 13 years old. I have noproblem with him telling Noah to not do something, if he does so in a polite and respectful manner.<br><br>
I have no problem with family helping me raise my son, as long as they are following my rules/guidelines/parenting philosophy. If they can`t do that, they need to just come get me.
 

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Big sibling role is part peer, part mentor. It seems like a balance. You don't want the older sibling talking on the parents' burden (and/or being bossy) but you do want them to feel free (if they want) to guide the younger one.<br><br>
I LOVE the older sister role and play it with my younger friends and collegues, and there definately is an element of mothering in it (or fathering if I was a man playing big brother to my younger friends and relatives.)<br><br>
Tattling is a hard one. I HATED when my sibs did it to me. I prob did it more than I should have (not to my sis but to my favored brother - so the root of the tattling was prob jelousy). I had a pretty good sense when something rose to the occasion that NEEDED telling (my brother wantonly killing ants or thowing a rock at a passing truck), but I usually felt guilty afterwards no matter what. And I think I did sometimes try to stop the behavior myself (telling my brother to stop killing ants) and only turned to my parents when he wouldn't. Overall, I think the telling thing can get out of hand - though so can the not telling thing.<br><br>
balance balance
 

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I don't have any problem with older ones telling younger ones to stop doing something that they're not allowed to do. I do not agree with the people who have their older kids <b>punish</b> the younger ones. If punishment is something a parent uses, it is my opinion that they should do it personally.
 

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I lean more towards your husband's way of thinking, but not 100%. I think that the kids really need to learn how to solve problems between themselves; i.e. if the 4 year old is doing something which irritates the 10 year old, the 10 year old should be free to deal with that on his own. If the two of them are in dispute, and can't resolve it on their own, they should be comfortable coming to you for help to resolve it. If the 10 year old was in danger of physically harming the 4 year old, I'd intervene, but other than that I probably wouldn't.
 

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I agree with you. The rule at our house is: it's not your job to tell your sister/brother what to do.
 

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Having grown up as the oldest cousin on both sides of the family, I think it is fine for an older child to correct a younger one whose behavior is against the rules, using gentle discipline methods like the parents would. For example, if 4yo is climbing up the porch wall, 10yo can say, "Remember, we don't stand on the wall. Will you get down by yourself, or do you want me to help you?" The same goes for putting peanut butter on the drapes, throwing a ball in the house, eating the cake that's for the potluck dinner, etc. Often, a reminder of the rule and some redirection will resolve the situation without any need for adult intervention. It's good experience for both kids.<br><br>
But if the issue is "a fight between themselves regarding what they are watching or want to watch on the TV at the time", it seems to me that that isn't something the YOUNGER child is doing wrong; it is a disagreement between the two of them. Both of them, older and younger, should have the right to voice their opinions and should negotiate, summoning a parent only if they can't work it out for themselves. The fact that one of them is older doesn't mean she has the right to make all the decisions about what they do.
 

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"I don't have any problem with older ones telling younger ones to stop doing something that they're not allowed to do. I do not agree with the people who have their older kids punish the younger ones. If punishment is something a parent uses, it is my opinion that they should do it personally."--phathui5<br><br>
This sums it up for me. If the parents are using positive GD phrasing and techniques, and the older child is modelling that behavior, then all the better <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 
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