How to Be a Good Influence on Your Younger Siblings ...

If you've got younger siblings, you may be expected to be a good influence on them. This is quite a responsibility, and one you may resent. But it's also very important; I've seen how their older siblings can have a negative impact on people. So here's how you can be a good influence on your younger siblings …

1. Be There for Them

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Make sure your younger sister or brother knows that they can always turn to you. They may be able to talk to you about subjects that they don't want to discuss with your parents. As their older sibling you're in a position of being older and with more life experience, yet not the authority figure that a parent is. So you can offer valuable help and advice on many issues.

2. Always Encourage Them

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Encourage your younger sibling to grow, explore and develop - but only in a positive way. Support their interests such as sports and art, and praise them when they succeed. And if they're having difficulties, help them work on overcoming their problems. You can do so much to encourage them.

3. Show Them How It's Done

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One of the best ways to be a good influence is in leading by example. Show your siblings the smart thing to do, as well as telling them (or instead of telling them). If your younger siblings see that you think smoking is stupid, for example, they're more likely to follow your example and not start smoking.

4. Giving Them an Outlet

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You can also help your siblings by being a non-judgemental and supportive ear whenever they need to talk. They may be reluctant to talk to your parents about some subjects, but be more comfortable talking to you. Let them know that you'll always help them out wherever you can.

5. Don't Be Their Parent

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However, you shouldn't try to be their parent. You may be senior, but you're not responsible for them and you don't have authority over them (unless you're babysitting!). You can be much more of a good influence if you don't try to boss them around and tell them what to do.

6. Protect and Stand up for Them

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Many an older sibling has stood up for their younger brother or sister when they're being bullied. It's part of the job description! Always protect your siblings and look out for them. If you see anyone being mean to them, look after them; show bullies that they can't mess with your younger brother or sister!

7. Understand Your Influence on Them

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You may not realise just how much of an influence you can have on your younger siblings - but it can be considerable. After all, you've been there in their life from day 1. So think about how what you do might affect them; don't be like some older siblings, and have a negative impact on them for years to come. Younger siblings often look up to their older brothers and sisters, so you have a chance to really help them understand important issues.

Being a good influence on your younger siblings may seem like a lot of responsibility, but it's also flattering. You can really make a difference to their lives! Doesn't that make you feel good? So be the best older sister you can possibly be! Do you think it's best to be the oldest, youngest, or in the middle?

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