Information for Preteens:
Little Brothers & Sisters
Younger siblings can be awesome, cool, annoying, embarrassing, cumbersome, loving, helpful, and unconditional friends – all in one "smaller-than-you" package. Below are some typical scenarios, or situations, you may experience when you have a younger sibling.
The Many Sides of Siblings
You are babysitting your younger sister Jenny. While you are watching TV, she asks if she can play outside. Later, she comes in crying because she scraped her knee badly. When your parents ask you what happened, Jenny says she tripped on the pavement. She does not mention that you were not with her, allowing you to escape the lecture about not paying attention.
Some older kids at school are making fun of you. Your sister walks over and tells them she will tell a teacher if they do not stop. They are embarrassed that a younger kid made them seem so "uncool" and they leave. Even if they do not leave, it is good to have someone like a sibling or a friend around during these times.
You are doing your homework and your sister Sarah keeps asking you to play with her, even though you already told her you have too much work to play. Whatever you do, do not yell at her, even though she may be annoying you. She is not trying to be annoying – she just loves you. Remind yourself that she loves you and try and find time to play a little.
You and some friends are hanging out and your brother Josh is in the room. Suddenly, he starts talking about how, when you were his age you still brought your "blankie" with you everywhere, unlike him. All you can do is try to laugh along with your friends as they laugh too. Your brother was just trying to join the conversation.
You and your friends want to go to the movies, but your parents ask you to babysit your younger sister and she cannot see the movie your friends wanted to see. You have to tell your friends you cannot go because your sister is too young. You are disappointed. Sometimes your younger sibling feels like a burden, or cumbersome.
You had a terrible first day at school. You got lost, forgot your locker combination, were late for class, and dropped your lunch. When you get home, you go into your room and cry. Your little sister Lisa comes in and asks what is wrong. She gives you a hug and helps you figure out how to make the next day better.
You cannot seem to get your school project done. You are trying to glue a bunch of pieces of a project together, but it will not work. Then, without being asking, your little brother David offers to help hold part of it while you glue the next step, and you realize how hard it would be without him.
Whenever you are just hanging out, you and your sibling always have each other. You are family and friends – a great combination. You can see each other often, and you know each other really well. You know what he or she likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.
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Being the Grown Up
Sometimes, having a younger sister or brother can be challenging. Below are suggestions for dealing with different situations that may come up.
Scenario: You and your little brother or sister fight about a toy, game, or computer.
- Compromise by sharing it and dividing up the play time evenly.
- Be mature. If you do not want to take turns, play together or do something else.
- Give in (for a limited time) or talk with your parents.
Scenario: You and your little sister or brother fight about who won the game you are playing.
- Let your younger sibling win. Be the mature one, you will always know the truth.
- Just call the game a tie.
- Drop it and play another game, or say, "It does not really matter who won – we still had fun."
Scenario: You and your little brother or sister fight about which activity you are going to do next.
- Compromise by doing one activity for a set time, then switch.
- Keep talking until you find something you both want to do.
Scenario: You and your younger sister or brother fight about him or her wanting your attention before you finish your homework, and you ask him or her to wait.
- Ask an adult to help find something for him or her to do in the meantime.
- Tell him or her how long it will take you to finish so that she or he does not need to keep bothering you.
When talking or playing with your younger sibling, it is important to remember that he or she loves you, looks up to you, and probably wants to be just like you. Take a deep breath and be kind. Your actions DO make an impact. You are a role model, which is a role you need to take seriously and also enjoy!
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Madison, middle school writer &
high school student writer
Reviewed by: Adolescent Interest Group
Last reviewed: August 2013