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Amanda Lamb: Sisterly love

Posted October 17, 2010

"Mommy, she sucks my friends away," my youngest daughter says speaking of her big sister.

"What do you mean, Honey?" I ask as I fold towels next to her on the table where she is perched.

"When I have a friend over, she sucks them away, because she's older and so cool," she says with tears in her eyes. "They always want to play with her."

I can see how life would appear to her this way. At seven, her repertoire is fairly limited to Polly Pockets and Barbies. Her older sister on the other hand is full of creative ideas and new games that can sway younger children to follow her like she's the Pied Piper. Plus, when you're ten it's a lot more fun to be nice to your little sister's friends than to be nice to your little sister.

Not having grown up with a sister, my information on how to handle these situations is limited. I feel my way through these parenting moments one stumble at a time.

"Sweetie, younger kids are always drawn to older kids, but that doesn't mean they don't want to be with you. You're very cool. Mommy loves being with you," I say cupping her red cheeks with the palms of my hands. "There's no one on earth I'd rather be with."

"What about her?" She says with a wry smile. "Would you rather be with me or her?"

A trick question with no reasonable answer. Respectfully, I take the Fifth.

Amanda Lamb is the mother of two girls, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Mondays.


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  • littleteacher Oct 19, 2010

    I solved this with my twins when they were about 10. I gave them each a Christmas ornament that says, "Mom loves me best". They cracked up over the ornaments.....and didn't pack them away in the ornament box. They are both pinned on their bulletin boards in their rooms. So now when it comes up, I just smile and assure that daughter that I love her best. She knows what I mean and it helps the situation with a smile. They are now away at college and we still tease about it.

  • LucyLooo Oct 19, 2010

    My mom tells me that I am her favorite daughter all the time.

    yep I am the only one to. sigh. :)

  • thinkb4speak Oct 18, 2010

    I am 40something and my sister is 30something. Depending on the moment - I am happy to tell my sister that Mom loves me more - or I am happy to say to Mom - you love her more than me. My mom just rolls her eyes and says "you figured me out!" It is the battle that will go on until the end of time!!

  • BigUNCFan Oct 18, 2010

    Parents have favorits, they just don't want to admit it.

  • blahblahblah Oct 18, 2010

    My children are 27 and 24 and still argue over who is the favorite. Last Christmas I bought them each a tee shirt that says "I'm Mom's favorite" on the front. I wrapped the shirts in extra special wrapping with bows and ribbons and candy canes to make them think that the gift was over the top. I made them open them at the same time to see the look on their faces. I think I finally put an end to that argument.

  • kellypratz Oct 18, 2010

    My 8 year old will tell her 4 year old sister "you can't be my friend because your my sister". I tell her "no, your sister can sometimes be your best friend in life". She just looks at me like I'm crazy, but I'm sure they will both realize the friendship they'll have when their adults.

  • Ima Cook Oct 18, 2010

    I have a cute comment Amanda. When my 3 children were young, each of them would come and ask, "Mommy, who is your favorite?" As a good mom, I would tell that one that "You are!" then one by one they each would come and get the same answer. My children are now 31, 40, 44!! They STILL remember which one their mom loves the best.