Dear Dr. Ada:
My 6-year-old daughter is very competitive with my 5-year-old son. She always wants to be first, and he is very gentle and always gives in to her.
How should I handle this situation?
Find out from your daughter’s teacher how she is doing at school. If she has no difficulty with her friends at school, and her competitive spirit is held in check over there, this indicates she just needs firmer discipline at home.
Explain to your daughter it is not fair to always take advantage of her brother’s goodness; and that she is a good girl and therefore must be good to others.
In addition, encourage your son to be more assertive and learn to stand up for his rights, and not always give in to his sister. Play being a judge between the two (whose orders must be followed) and help the children develop better social skills.
However, if you learn that your daughter’s behavior in school is also problematic, I would recommend some counseling.
You can learn more about the importance of the mother-child relationship in my book, The Drama of the Mother-Child Bond: What Every Woman Should Know about Motherhood, Career and Children available on Amazon.