Big Sister, Little Sister Dynamic

realtionship dynamic between big and little sister

What do you think of when you hear the word "sister"?  Oftentimes, one thinks of the unique bond that exists between sisters, from early childhood years spent playing with dolls (maybe wearing matching big sister little sister shirts!) and exchanging secrets to the adult years when sisters become best friends.  However, there is an opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to the big sister/little sister dynamic – and many times, it's not a very sisterly one.

So why is it that some sisters are like one soul in two bodies, while other sisters have little to no relationships whatsoever? 

Unique Dynamics

The truth is that the dynamic between a big sister and a little sister is a unique one that differs from the relationship between brothers, for example. While siblings are normally competitive no matter what the gender, the special relationship between big and little sisters might make this competitive streak even more apparent, especially if the sisters are close together in age and share many of the same tastes. 


Girls and women often share deeper bonds than that of men, which is why the word “sisterhood” typically conjures up images of steadfast friendship, close bonds and shared secrets. Childcare experts maintain that since a child will spend up to 50% of her time with a sibling by the time she reaches 11, a big sister is often one of the most influential role models in her life. Since the big sister is typically near her age, this means that younger sisters will often turn to her for advice instead of the parents, making the role of the big sister as protector and mentor an especially important one.

Communication is Key

Since the relationship between big and little sisters are quite close, this means that sisters need to learn how to communicate effectively in order to maintain the uniqueness of this bond. For example, many sisters have strained relationships due to a breakdown in communication or a petty disagreement, which can easily be repaired by reopening the lines for sisterly affection and bonding. After all, the relationship between a big and little sister is one that cannot be described to anyone that hasn’t experienced it for themselves, as it’s like having a best friend at your side for all of your life. 

Maintain the Relationship

If you and your sister share a healthy and close relationship, remember that it still takes work to maintain this kind of bond. If you’re at a younger age, remember that you and your sister have separate interests and goals, so be sure to encourage your sister’s goals to maintain a healthy bond that will last. For older sisters with their own families and lives, always keep in touch with your sister, and remember to never take this special relationship for granted. Keep the lines of communication clear, share special moments together and remember to always be there for one another, no matter how many miles may separate you. After all, friends come and go, but the relationship that sisters share is for life!