How to Instantly Be a Better Big Sis
We'll be the first to admit that being a big sister can be a drag.
You're left to carve the path so your siblings can follow in your (perfectly paved) footsteps. Your parents can be harder on you and look to you to set the example, which can be frustrating at times, no doubt.
But on the plus side, there are many positives associated with being the oldest in the fam. With age comes greater responsibility, and you have an impact in your siblings' lives, which is pretty cool in the grand scheme of life. But if you're feeling like you haven't been living up to all your big sis expectations, we're here to help with the below tips!
Make Them Laugh
Laughter cures just about everything, and it's an amazing way to bond with your sibling. The jokes and the funny moments you have now will be ones you laugh about for years to come as you get older. So take the time to make the memories and remember to keep the LOLs flowing. If you and your sibling have a hard time finding things that make you both crack up, turn the lens on your parents—that's probably a topic you both can make a laughing matter.
Lead By Example
Sometimes we forget that as the big sister, we really are the ones setting the example. Whether it's being nice to strangers or obeying our parents, your sibling will emulate you and your actions when you're not around. It's okay to slip up every once in awhile—we're all human—but try and be the best version of yourself when they're around, especially if your siblings are way younger.
Tell Them You Love Them
It's not just your parents' job to show your siblings that they love them. Little brothers and sisters are constantly seeking the approval of their elder sister, it's true. So reminding them that you love them, or that you care, is really going to make a world of a difference. And even if they don't show you it makes them happy, deep down we promise you it does.
Treat Them With Respect
Just because they're younger doesn't mean they're your minion. Sure, you probably always get shotgun, but beyond normal sisterly hierarchy, your siblings deserve respect. They're not your assistant, your maid or a second-class citizen, so don't treat them like one!
Carve Out Quality Time
As we grow up, we start shifting our priorities and attention outside the family to friends and boys. But at the end of the day, it's your family that'll always be by your side. Even though you probably have a hectic schedule between homework, athletics, friends and dating, be sure to carve out a little QT with your sibling. It can be simple as walking the dog together, helping them with homework or even inviting them to hang with you and your friends.
Being a good listener is one of the best things you can teach yourself. It will get you so far in relationships, work and being a better human. The art of listening is something we have to teach ourselves. It's shifting the priority from yourself to the other person, and it's putting their thoughts ahead of your own. And when we say listen, we mean really listen, not thinking ahead about your response, which is selfish (and not listening!) or interrupting them. Whether they need to vent, are having trouble in school, or experiencing issues with friends or a crush, sometimes all the other person needs is someone to talk to.
Give Guidance, Not a Lecture
After listening (see above) to your sibling, if advice or an opinion is warranted, make sure you're giving guidance and not a lecture. It's super easy to go into lecture mode and recount your own past incidents that you went through or seemingly obvious ways to make the situation better. Guidance is much more gentle—it's assessing the situation and giving potential solutions to the issue. Remember that just because something worked for you doesn't mean it will work for someone else, and there's more than just your way to mend the situation.
Learn to Let Things Go
Why is it so hard to let things go, especially with siblings? It's inevitable that your siblings will occasionally get into your belongings and your business, but in retrospect, most of it is really so silly. If you find yourself really hung up on something, try and think about the big picture—is this battle really worth the fight? We know we would have been much happier teens had we learned to let half of the stuff go that made me us angry and anxious.
Don't Be a Spy or Tattletale
It's important to gain your siblings' trust so that they can confide in you—that's basically your god-given duty as a big sister! That said, you're not a spy for your parents. The things your sibling tells are you are not at your disposal to tell your parents, or the world, for that matter. But obviously if they put themselves in harm's way, by all means get the 'rents in the mix. But if they're not endangering themselves or anyone else, keep their business between you two.
It's also important to be by your sister's side when she goes through a breakup, the way we're sure Bella was there for Gigi. Click HERE to read the most heartbreaking Twitter reactions to news of Gigi and Zayn's split.