Friends, Competitors — Sisters

As my ADHD daughter watched her sister outperform her on the balance beam, I braced for a meltdown. It never came.
The Distracted Princess | posted by Sarah Kaczmarek
ADHD Siblings: Sisters Hugging

I was proud of Hadley this year. She has grown so much.

— Sarah Kaczmarek, blogger

Hadley has a younger sister, Brinley, who I haven't written about much. Brinley starts kindergarten next year, and is a handful. I haven't decided if she will get a diagnosis or not. She certainly doesn't have the learning struggles or the coordination concerns Hadley has had. If nothing else, there are days that I wish I had Brinley's energy.

In the back of my mind, I've worried how I would handle the day when Brinley might pass Hadley, academically or physically. I encourage both children to try their best and work hard. But my children are polar opposites when it comes to confidence. When something is difficult for Hadley, she gets frustrated and says that she can't do it. Brinley powers through, wanting to be the best at gymnastics, preschool, and everything in between.

This past weekend my girls had their end-of-season gymnastics programs. Hadley had some challenges with the balance beam and became upset. She was hard on herself, no matter how much we reassured her she did well. I was proud of her this year, and she has grown so much.

Between the performances she was unusually quiet. As we watched Brinley's performance, I braced for a meltdown from Hadley when she saw that her four-year-old sister did pullovers with ease and scooted gracefully along the balance beam. Hadley proved me wrong. She said, "These little ones are so cute. This makes me happy." She told me that her sister was really good and yelled, "Woohoo!" when Brinley pulled off a difficult move. Afterward, Hadley told her sister that she was proud of her. I was proud of Hadley.

I've thought a lot about things this past weekend. I realized that the best thing I can do is to praise the girls for their hard work, and recognize them individually without comparing them. My hope is that they will do the same and continue to encourage each other. I think they will.

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