Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dealing with Siblings-One more advanced than the other-the time I lied to make one feel better

We have 3 children an older boy a sophomore and two girls on 17 months apart (5 1/2 & 7). All 3 kids are different-they look different, they act different and all their milestones are different. SO when our younger daughter turned 2 we quickly understood just how advanced she is- she already knew her ABC's, counted to 20 and could tell you a word that began with every letter. We also learned she has incredible memory abilities-like when we play memory and there are 30 cards she will remember where they all are-even beating us sometimes on an online one that has a timer. Then there is her older sister that needed more time to retain information and couldn't make connections so easily. When they started pre school the teachers noticed quickly of their differences and tried to celebrate one without hurting the other always giving lots of encouragement and support. When they began independent reading we quickly realized we needed to separate them-the older one would struggle and the younger would just ramble on and on. She was coming home and telling me aha can spell metacognition. So separating them was key to not have them feel competing while giving them each the different support they need-we also had to do this with worksheets-our younger one would be done while the older one was on number 3.

Kids talk about what they do in school and love to share when they learn something new. When the younger one took her kindergartner pre test she got like 97 out of 100 right-most things that she had not even learned she just figured it out. One day we were talking about it, we thought we were alone, but sure enough her older sister asked what she got. IN the moment I just lied telling her they did about the same. It was just one test and they would soon forget about it. I know this may have been wrong, but in that moment she had this look on her face and I could not for the life of me tell her she did not do so well (I think she got more like in the 60's, which was still above average). I just thought that if she thought she did as good it would build her confidence and she wouldn't no any different. She never did but I always remember that moment.

As she gets older she understands more and more her sister is advanced-talk about putting her in the gifted and talented program or bringing home chapter books 6-7 levels ahead. Our kindergartner only goes a half a day so when she brings home her book we read it and I put back in her backpack so the other one doesn't read what level it is-she always wants to know. When our first grader moves up levels she is so excited and talks about it as we praise her for her hard work. The younger one doesn't care much about what level she is on.

They are so different and I like their strengths and their weakness. I love the fact that no matter how different they really are they still love each other and support one another. We will continue to rally behind them helping where it needs and challenging as well. I think its important to show pride when they accomplish something and encourage when they need a little help. I am more worried as they get older and hope this doesn't pout a wedge between them.