My son was beaming. Not because he landed his first job, aced a test at school or finally snagged a date with a girl he’s had a crush on for months. He was beaming because his older sister paid him a compliment.
As a mom of three, I’ve seen first-hand the powerful impact my girls have on their younger brother. Without even realizing it, they hold the power to tear him down with one off-the-cuff remark or send his self-esteem soaring. To him, their opinions matter – oftentimes, more than mine or my husbands.
When they were younger, they had their typical sibling squabbles, but over the last few years, their relationship has changed. Now that my son is a teenager, he hangs on his sisters’ every word. After all, they know the ropes. They’ve walked in his shoes, they understand first-hand his struggles, his fears, how to navigate the challenges of school, girls and friends, and they know how to battle the storms. They’ve been there.
Sure, not all brother and sister relationships are perfect. Sometimes siblings get along, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, all it takes is a little maturity and a slice of common ground for a bridge to be built and a relationship to be fostered.
But, as parents, shouldn’t we be trying harder to cultivate those relationships between our daughters and sons rather than leaving it up to time in “hopes” that one day they’ll begin to appreciate one another?
Let’s nurture those valuable relationships by reminding our daughters that to their brothers, their opinion matters. In fact, it matters a lot. Let’s help them realize that their voice holds the power to build up their younger brothers, influence their behavior, relationships, and outlook, and positively impact their lives both now and even well into their adult life.
Here’s 7 Powerful Lessons Every Sister Can Teach Her Younger Brother:
How to Be “Boyfriend Material”
Younger brothers can learn a ton from their older sisters in the romance department. After all, sisters get it. They know first-hand what they seek in a guy and what qualities classify a boy as “boyfriend material.” Everything from opening doors and pulling out chairs to how to pay an honest compliment and managing the emotional side of girls, older sisters are great for helping their younger brothers unveil the mystery of girls, helping them fine-tune their “guy etiquette” and helping them navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of dating.
How to Be Resilient
Younger brothers, sometimes viewed as nothing more than a nuisance by their older sisters, learn from a very early age how to take a hit. As parents, it can be frustrating to watch, but older sisters are teaching their younger brothers a thing or two about how to handle conflict, how to be resilient, and the important lesson that no matter what, sisters always love their brothers even when they are a pain. No, we shouldn’t let our daughters pounce on their younger brothers, but those normal sibling scuffles? Let’s just say they have a way of preparing our boys for life.
How to Be a Better Listener
Let’s face it, most sisters completely outshine their brothers in the chatty department. Whether they like it or not, brothers are forced to listen to their older sisters rant about the latest girl drama in their lives or ramble on about every last little detail of their day. Younger brothers are inherently taught by their older sisters to be better listeners, to exercise patience and to not roll their eyes (although this skill takes years to master) every time their sister walks in the door with another long-winded story to tell.
How to Handle Rejection
Sure, sisters might be tough on their younger brothers from time to time. But, when the chips are down and their brother needs them, they’re there. When they’re faced with rejection either from a girl they asked out on a date or when they didn’t make the team, older sisters are the first ones to jump in. They’re the ultimate pick-me-uppers. They’ve dealt with and survived rejection on more than one occasion and they know what to say, what not to say and how to lift their brothers up when life throws them curves.
How to Choose Friends Wisely
The benefit of being older is that you have a few more years under your belt navigating friends and friendships. Older sisters have dealt with the daily drama and gossip and they’ve also learned what qualities to look for in a good friend. When their younger brother is faced with friend issues, older sisters are awesome at diving into the problem, offering advice and giving a few solid tips on how to avoid those annoying friend quandaries once and for all.
How to be Cool
If your son wants a brutally honest opinion about what he’s wearing, his haircut or how he acts socially, just have him ask his older sister. Sisters definitely aren’t shy about tossing out their opinions or advice. Often quick with constructive criticism, sisters have a way of paving the “cool path” for their younger brothers. Be under no illusion though, their motivation for teaching their brothers how to be cool is as much for their own benefit as it is his. Sisters definitely don’t want to be associated with an uncool brother, so it’s to their benefit to teach their brother how, at the very least, not to be a total nerd.
How to Stand On Your Own Two Feet
Finding your way in middle school and high school can be tough, especially at a time in kids’ lives when everyone is striving to fit in and be accepted. The voice of an older sister is a powerful tool that can help younger brothers learn to stand on his own two feet. With a little more maturity and few life lessons on their side, an older sister can help her brother gain the confidence to forge his own path, prevent him from following the crowd, and help him stay on the right track academically and socially. And, with a faithful supportive big sister on his side, he won’t need the validation of thumbs up, hearts or likes, he’ll already have it right at home.
Having a big sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know, no matter what you do, they’ll always be by your side.
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