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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

My daughter does not like her younger twin sisters
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Dear Grandma Maggie,

I am asking for advice on my five year-old-daughter, Grace. My husband and I had twin girls two year ago, Emilie and Marta. Ever since the twins were born, Grace has avoided them. I have always wanted my children to be close in age and friends as well. Emilie and Marta try to go over to Grace sometimes. Grace usually walks away.twin-948712_1920 I have tried to explain to Grace that the twins look up to her and want to be her friend. She shows no form of acknowledgement when I talk to her about this. A few times, I have tried to play games with Grace, Emilie and Marta all together. Whenever it is a twin’s turn, Grace starts to cry about how they are so annoying, ever if they are playing nicely. How can I get Grace to accept the fact that Marta and Emilie are and always will be her little sisters, and that she needs to acknowledge them? Please give me some advice. Thank you.

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

You know what? Our kids don’t always like each other and are often annoyed by them. I think pointing that out and making her play games with the twins might even emphasize that. How about this? I suggest you and your husband, both separately and together, spend some alone time with Grace. Try saying she gets some special privileges because she is older. She doesn’t want more time with the twins, she wants more time with her parents. Think of things to do with her alone. Bake a muffin mix that she can help you stir. Read her a chapter book that is too old for the twins. Take her on a mother/daughter day for lunch or a special movie. Let her see what her life is like once again with just a parent and no annoying little sisters. Wanting them to like each other is fine, but you have to also accept that they are not going to feel one way or another just because you want it. The most you can demand is that they don’t hurt anyone in their home physically or emotionally, the latter being hurting feelings at her age. They need not like everyone, but civility is a must.

Good luck,
Grandma Maggie