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Sibling Rivalry

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vivere posted 10/22/2013 21:50 PM

I'd like some opinions on this delicate situation please. I'm not sure of the best approach.

I have 2 children. DS 19, DD 15. Both are gorgeous, intelligent, sensitive young people. They both live at home and are best of friends 99% of the time. They socialise together occasionally, give advice to each other and are a whole lot closer than my brother and I ever were.

They each have their own unique skill set but DD is becoming increasingly annoyed that DS has expressed an interest in 'her' talent of music (singing and playing instruments). She claims this is her 'thing'. Her 'special-ness'. Her 'special connection' with her father. She is not keen to share.

I'm not sure I handled it particularly well when she complained about DS new interest in 'her thing'. More than anything it worried me that she felt she needed something to be 'special'. I reassured her and pointed out to her her many talents. I also told her that I did not consider myself particularly different from the average guy on the street but that I was the best me that I could be and I was happy with that. She said she felt that she may not be happy with that. We finished the conversation with a hug and me reminding her of how loved she is but I'm not sure she was satisfied with this.

I always thought she was happy, confident and had a healthy self esteem. Her attitude to this situation though, has me concerned that it may not be the case.

I'd be grateful for others opinions about this.

[This message edited by vivere at 5:00 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]

HeartStings posted 10/22/2013 23:06 PM

I don't have any suggestions, but I encountered the exact same situation with my kids recently (ds15, dd13), and the exact same reasoning: music was her "thing." Maybe it's just a girl thing about not wanting to share? Because my dd definitely has no problems with self-esteem! Quite the opposite!

At the time, I tried to reason with her that she was a great student, a great artist, etc., while her brother really hasn't shown any talent or interest in anything, so let him try music. It didn't take away anything from her if he was good at it. That didn't seem to satisfy her, either.

Recently, however, after I bought some paints and said I was going to try painting a few abstracts, she threw a fit and again said that was her "thing". This time I told her to kiss my butt! She can develop her talents to her heart's content, and so can other people! She doesn't have a monopoly on anything, and she should stop comparing herself to others and be proud of her own accomplishments.

Try not to worry about it. You said the right things. She'll figure it out for herself eventually.

StrongerOne posted 10/23/2013 11:44 AM

You said all the right things, and should not feel at all bad about how you handled it.

She's 15, which can be an icky age, with an older brother who "does everything right." Wanting to be "special" -- no need to get upset about her expressing this, it's typical. So, you can sympathize with her -- "that's hard to deal with, isn't it, honey?"

But I think you need to not prop her up on this one any more. You do not need to go over and over what makes her special. You do not need to be improving her self esteem. She needs to come to terms with that for herself.

And, it may have just been a passing moment of uncertainty for her. Or pissiness. She's 15...

imagoodwitch posted 10/23/2013 11:57 AM

She can develop her talents to her heart's content, and so can other people! She doesn't have a monopoly on anything, and she should stop comparing herself to others and be proud of her own accomplishments.

^^^^
This

My sister is 2 years older than I am.

She is super smart, I am the athletic one.

I play tennis and I golf, my sister does not. She will golf with me when she comes to visit.

The last time she was visiting we played golf. She hit some nice shots considering she doesn't play more than twice a year.

I have learned to keep my mouth shut I do have inner pangs of jealousy when she hits a nice shot and while my inner 12 year old is ranting I always give her a genuine heartfelt "Great Shot!" when she does.

While in High School, I didn't do that, it's a miracle she even talks to me now as horrible as I was to her.

It's a sibling thing they have to work out on their own but you can steer her a little too.

Crescita posted 10/23/2013 14:01 PM

Do you watch the show “Girls?” One of the overarching themes of the show is that girls are competing with their friends. While you want to slap them upside the head for not having the good sense to appreciate when loved ones succeed, you also see that it motivates them to want more for themselves.

Maybe your daughter will find some more interests so she doesn’t feel so singularly defined, maybe she will put more time and effort into her music and improve leaps and bounds. She’ll be okay and the relationship with her brother will as well.

vivere posted 10/23/2013 17:01 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I will downplay this one and see where it goes. It's nice to be reassured that this is all very normal for a 15 yr old girl.

I really appreciate all your responses.

(Note: I edited the original post this morning to correct a grammatical error - can't seem to help myself. Somehow I lost the tail end of it?? I've re-written it as best I can from memory but no, you're not going mad if you think it's a little different to yesterday, sorry )

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