Friday, February 28, 2014

The Sister Mom

Alyssa has this habit of trying to mother her sister.

This wouldn’t be much of a problem if she peppered a little affection and nurturing into her parenting. Unfortunately, she tends to only want to mother Olivia when she feels Liv needs to be instructed on proper behavior or when she feels Olivia needs to be admonished for something Tom or I had just talked to her about.

At this point, it’s just annoying. I realize that this is probably just normal sibling interaction. I also notice that it doesn’t bother Olivia at all. She pretty much ignores any and all of Alyssa’s instruction. But it bothers me and it bothers Tom.

We can both often be heard saying to Alyssa, “She doesn’t need you to parent her. She already has two!”

Alyssa will then roll her eyes and say something like, “Well, she wasn’t listening to you!”

And we’ll respond, “So let us take care of it.”

And then she huffs and puffs and stomps off in indignation because we’re so unfair about not letting her tell her sister what to do.

Sigh.

I told my step son during our family Christmas that these days parenting the eleven year old is much more work than parenting the seven year old.

Boundaries! I’m working on helping Alyssa recognize them in other and build them for herself.

These preteen years are tough. I fear the teenage years will be tougher if we don’t get a grip now. And yet, I fear holding on too tight and having her pull so far away there’s no getting her back.

Are we alone in this struggle? Please, please let us not be alone.

1 comment:

Sherry Young said...

Julie sent me this post because Natalie is "mothering" Sean. In our case it is Sean's trigger point to fight back and it escalates. Of course when I tell her the fight would never have happened if she hadn't been telling him he shouldn't do that, I get the "so you mean to tell me that you think that every fight Sean & I have is ALL MY FAULT?!?"

I so had to stop and laugh at that one because I have twisted an argument in just the same irrational way with Dave. My attempt to give her a high 5 for her female tactics eventually got her to smile...sort of.

Hormones changing really makes life interesting here...