25/06/2009 12:03 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Ask Joanne - People Say My Younger Child Is Cute But Not My Older One

What's your parenting question for our life coach Joanne Mallon? Send it in to this address.

Tania asks:

I have two daughters aged five and two. The youngest is cute as a button, blonde, bouncy and attracts a lot of attention when out and about with constant comments from strangers of 'Oh aren't you beautiful'.

My five year old commented to a friend the other day "Everyone always tells my sister she is beautiful but they never tell me that." The eldest is a bright, confident and beautiful girl but in a more classic beauty sort of way and just quieter so she doesn't command as much attention.

I know that people are just drawn to little ones more as they do so many cute crazy things but I do feel sorry for my eldest daughter at times as she must get tired of never being included in the comments or the usual afterthought of "Oh and aren't you a big girl?" To me she is beautiful and I tell her this all the time but I can see why she made the comment to our friend.

Here's life coach Joanne's reply:

Dear Tania

I think every parent of more than one child will have come across this situation. The trouble is, the younger one is always going to be the smallest and more prone to cutesiness. You can see how someone's place in the family has quite a big effect on their adult character, can't you? And in a few years it might be your youngest complaining that everyone thinks she's a baby and no-one takes her seriously.

But for now, it's up to you to fight your older daughter's corner (though it sounds like you're handling it quite well so far).

First of all, if anyone you see on a regular basis is doing this, do take them aside and have a quiet word. Remember that these comments are well meant, and not intended to put your eldest down, even though they do come across like that.

If strangers make comments, I think you need to make a point of saying "Yes, they're BOTH lovely, aren't they?".

At the end of the day, you are your daughters' biggest role model, so use that power. What happens within the family will have more meaning than what happens outside. Praise them for all their achievements (not just for looking good). Point out to your eldest the many advantages she has by being those three years older. Help to reinforce her self esteem so that outsiders' comments wash over her like water.

hope this helps


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