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Academic Sibling Rivalry

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DD is 9 - DS is 7

This is their first year out of PS.

They were both in the gifted program in PS.


I am having issues with DD getting upset (to the point of tears) because she gets an answer wrong that DS gets right. She gets visibly mad at DS when this happens and won't play with him for the rest of the day. I've tried explaining to her that no one expects her to be perfect, that DS gets answers wrong that she gets right, and that they each have different talents and strong suits. DD is excellent at reading and writing and DS excels in Math.


How else can I help her deal with this?

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I don't know....she's 9, not 5 or 6. Sort of time to step up to the plate and learn a bit of diplomacy. Maybe give her 3 min in a cool off spot to feel sorry for herself, then consequences for bad behavior after that. If she won't play with brother, then maybe she should spend that time doing his chores or something else that would benefit him. I always tell my kids that yep, life is not fair, but sometimes it is unfair in your favor, and sometimes it is unfair in someone else's favor. I have a *very* competitive son, who has gotten his hiney in trouble for it at least once in a big way. He has had to learn. My mantra with him is "you do YOUR best, and you encourage others to do THEIR best." Period. Give her cue cards :o), with phrases you expect to hear when he gets one right, and she doesn't. "Good job ______! I'll get it next time!" and the like. I do know where you are coming from. My ds is almost 14, and he is at almost the same math level as his sister who is 17, so we have had similar issues. My 2 are very competitive. Similarly gifted in some ways, very differently gifted in others. Good luck :o).

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:grouphug: It's great that you have them in your home to help her work through this together! I would encourage you NOT to split them up or avoid the issue, though you may get that advice.


This is a great way to her to learn that different people have different gifts. I would just keep explaining the same things you have been. It is very, very important for gifted kids especially to understand that they are not the best at some things and that is okay. :001_smile:


I would not allow her to turn her anger to ds. I would remind her that her issue is not with him, but with her own expectations.


She may have had this belief and behavior reinforced for some time at school in the gifted program and the typical classroom. She will need time to learn another way. Just keep it up!


My two oldest do much of their work together. They are both gifted, but second dd is on a whole other level. They work together in many of their subjects, and younger is grade advanced per recommendations based on her testing, so this is an issue we have faced head on. It is worth it to work it out, as it is a life-long character lesson. :001_smile:


Oh, and on the practical level, we do "do overs" when someone speaks unkindly. If she lashes out at ds, she would be required to repeat the interaction, but in a loving way instead ("I'm proud of you," "Nice work," etc.)

Edited by angela in ohio
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separate their schooling. Sometimes combining does not make things easier. You might even use the same materials and simply do them more than once, but I would seriously consider staggering their subjects to lessen competition.


Once some of the perfectionism is under control you could try putting them back together, but I wouldn't want to inadvertently play into that competition.


Could you advise me on how to make this work where one of the children is a boy that appears to be motivated primarily by competition? I'm exasperated!

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I don't think there is anything wrong with being motivated by competition. My siblings and I behave in a competitive fashion at times, but it doesn't damage any of us because we know we don't grudge anyone else their achievements.


I'd suggest it is good to have a smart sibling because if they were dumb, they would be too boring and who would there be to talk to?



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