My four year old girl imitates parents behavior. She likes to keep things from younger two years old sister and tell her if she doesn't behave well she won't get back her toys.

  1. Is it too young for her to imitate parents behavior?
  2. Is it not right to discipline younger siblings because it is not time yet?
  3. How our parents should response such reward/punish behavior between siblings?

1 Answer 1


Most children learn by example. If you don't like what you are seeing, then perhaps you could consider how you discipline. This is perfectly normal behaviour for a child -- they are little mimics, and it can be quite daunting to see yourself reflected in their actions.

In the meanwhile, you could try gentle redirection. Redirection means (more or less) changing the subject. As your elder daughter starts to discipline the younger, you redirect her/them by suggesting a tidy-up or going for a walk or using another toy, or turning up the music and dancing or singing.

If, by chance the elder was correct -- the younger was doing something potentially harmful, model how you want to see the problem handled. Modelling is how your elder child learned this is the first place, so you already know it's effective.

Otherwise, as it is normal, think about it as another set of eyes. Your younger daughter is more likely to be safe and entertained simply because her older sister is being a 'good parent'. Little children often play 'house' or 'family' games.

  • 1
    This is an excellent answer. Our elder kid is exactly like a mini-parent around her younger siblings, and we are really grateful for her doing that job exceptionally well. We normally reward her every time she manages to take care of the young ones effectively, even if she isn't supposed to do that to show our appreciation for her.
    – T. Sar
    Feb 24, 2017 at 17:20

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