I have 3 children. The oldest one, a girl, is turning 5 in 2 months, her brother just turned 4, and the little one just turned 1.

The oldest one will literally push her brother out the way to get in the bath first or in the car first or to go say hallo to grandma first, and if she did not succeed or if she does not get acknowledgement right away she will cry or fight with and hurt her brother (he is a special boy and prone to let people hurt him and say nothing). When they play outside and do something special and I am called to come and look, if I look at his achievement first she will be very upset, cry, scream, runaway, or be a miserable sister to her brother.

I have tried yelling, bribing, over cuddeling, very affectionate, reading stories, paiting, ignoring, but nothing is working, she still wants to be first and still bullies her little brother but loves the baby. She can be really spiteful and mean to her little brother if she does not get first acknowledgement in everything, even as much as a morning kiss, she must be first.

I am starting to get worried that I will never manage to get her over this. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

2 Answers 2


In such situations you can try to duplicate the "getting first" into two similar things, one for her and one for her brother, and then ask her which one she prefers.

For example, does she prefer to get in the bath first, or does she prefer to get her hair dried first. Does she prefer to get the breakfast cereal first or get the milk on the cereal first. If you put it in A or B terms and let her choose A or B you can get through this easily :)

It might also be worth giving her an activity "of her own", like ballet lessons, art classes, an educational app on the iPad or a maths activity book, to allow her to turn her wanting to be first into some sort of positive achievement.


We had the exact same situation except that the age gap was wider between the first two - 20 months instead of 10. We just let her be first most of the time and she soon came to see her slightly younger brother as a good play companion. As she got older, she got better about being less insistent on being first all the time, as long as her overall social position is not threatened.

Now the two older ones, now 8 and 6, just gang up on the youngest, not quite 4. The youngest knows how to fight back, though, and in fact is usually the aggressor.

I'm not sure that's the answer you were looking for, but it didn't seem disastrous.

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    your answer is very helpfull thank you, im trying out all advise given. thank you, and good luck with the kiddies. Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 5:16

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