Lil’ Sis and Big Bro

There is no silver bullet, no recipe when it comes to the heart. There is no such thing as a magic spell for love. There are only general guidelines, rules of thumb, called “heuristics”. What follows are a set of ideas that you might think about and try to use to become a better friend with a younger sister.


1. Don’t try bribery: recognize its short-term benefit and long-term harm. Over time, bribery reinforces a dislike of what you are bribing them to do, and reinforces a love of what you are bribing with. Consider bribing a kid to eat spinach by giving them ice-cream afterwards. They rehearse how nasty spinach is and how wonderful ice-cream is every time you bribe them. After the period of bribing is over, they hate the spinach more than when they started. The same goes for bribing a little brother or sister to “like” you. It is a long-term strategy to destroy any liking they had for you.

2. Seek respect. Respect is earned, and you have to earn it from your sib. Study them and find out what they admire, and delight in. Understand it well enough and you can think of things you can do to win their admiration and delight.

3. Quit the domestic service expectation and give them help. Most older sibs like to use younger sibs as minions. The younger sibs don’t like that. They know that they are human beings, and they value their own needs and wants. If you as an older sibling want to be a friend to your younger sibling, then study them and find out what their needs and wants are, and serve them. True leadership is really the ability to influence, not to command. Its power isn’t in the kings or rulers who command, but in the people who love greatly and serve greatly. If you want to have meaningful influence, then become a servant to your little sister. Make her priorities your priorities. Serve her feelings as if you were feeling them yourself. If her feelings are hurt, yours should be too. If she is delighted then you should be also. Be in truth a servant to her deep-down heart desires without expecting or demanding her to be a servant to you or your wants. She won’t serve you, but she will learn to love you, and you will be part of the “us” group in her universe. Eventually she’ll grow to understand that your unconditional love deserves to be reciprocated. (wikihow)

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