Category Archives: Advice

The best and worst parts of being a twin; don’t sweat hand-me-downs — try to appreciate what you have

Classmate Diana Yaseen looks on as sisters Ainsley (center) and Eliza Bogel demonstrate their “twin telepathy” on the set of Flow TV at Falls Cable on Sept. 21, 2015.
Classmate Diana Yaseen looks on as sisters Ainsley (center) and Eliza Bogel demonstrate their “twin telepathy” on the set of Flow TV at Falls Cable on Sept. 21, 2015.

Sibling logoDear Ainsley: I think it’s cool that you and Eliza are twins. I can tell you apart so easy so I don’t know why people say you can almost never tell twins apart. What is the best thing about being a twin and what is the worst? Eliza can answer too. I think you and Eliza are both awesome equally but for different reasons. I have a sibling but we are not twins. — Curious Kid

Dear Curious Kid: The best part about being a twin is that you always have someone to chat and play with. There are some bad parts too, like having to share a bedroom and almost never getting some time completely alone. There are many ups and downs to being a twin but overall I’m glad I’m a twin.

Here’s what Eliza says: “The best part of being a twin is that you can fool people and make them think that you are the other twin. The worst part is pretty much the same thing Ainsley said.”

— Your friend, Ainsley

Dear Ainsley: I have an older sister who gets the best clothes, the best everything. And when she outgrows something it’s passed on to me, even my bike. I don’t want to have her hand-me-downs. I want my own new things. How can I get my parents to understand and support me in this? — I Am My Own Person!

Dear I Am My Own Person: You have a good point when you say it is fun to have your own clothes but I also think you should be happy for what you have. Talk with your parents about getting some of your own items but also keep some of your sister’s things that are in good shape and that you don’t mind wearing or using. That way everyone’s happy. I hope this helps!

— Your friend,  Ainsley

Worried about who’s Dad’s favorite — and why

Ask HarperDear Harper: I’m pretty sure my dad thinks I’m his favorite. I feel good and bad about this but mostly bad. My brother is older than me and Dad is always stricter with him than me and doesn’t joke around with him like he does with me. I don’t know why this is. My brother definitely notices it. What is your advice? — Confused in Colrain

Dear Confused: Sometimes the tone of voice isn’t the major thing. Your dad will still love you as much as your brother even if he yells at him all of the time. I bet if you asked your dad, he would tell you that he loves you and your brother the same.

My mom and I talked about your question. She recommended I look through a book she has called Touchpoints: Birth to Three (Da Capo Press, 2006) by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. I found this about “valuing individuals,” which means seeing the worth in each person:

Parents often wonder how to treat each child equally. The answer is simple: You can’t. Each child is a different personality and needs a different approach. For instance, you might say to one, “You need me to speak softly.” To another, “You always need me to speak angrily.” When they torture you with “You’re always nicer to him than you are to me,” you can say, “You are very different people, which is great. I need to treat you differently. When I speak loudly to you, it’s to make you listen but I am speaking just as lovingly even if it’s louder.”

You might feel better if you talk to your dad. As your brother is older, your dad might be joking around with him in a way that you don’t understand. Your father might have different expectations for you and your brother since you are different ages. For instance, I get to stay up later than my younger brother because I am older. It’s not because my parents like me better; it’s because I’m more mature. I also get to watch movies that have swear words in them whereas my younger brother doesn’t get to watch them as much. People are different and that’s good! If everyone were the same, that would be very bad.

You can’t control everything your dad does. There’s only one person you can control and that’s YOU! Treat your brother kindly and he’ll return the favor. Tell me how everything goes.


Harper Brown is one of The BSE Flow’s advice columnists and its New York bureau chief. Got a question? Write Please include your contact information and name. We won’t print your name if you ask us not to.

What to do when your older siblings are rude to you

Sibling logoDEAR AINSLEY: I am the youngest of three sisters. The other two are teenagers, and they seem to treat me like I don’t exist. They are really good friends with each other but basically ignore me most of the time and are even kind of rude. My mom says it’s natural. This really hurts my feelings because, well, for obvious reasons. What would you suggest? — Left Behind

DEAR LEFT BEHIND:  Find an activity or hobby that you and your sisters like and try to bond through that. Also, if they keep being rude to you, you should tell them that you don’t like how they are treating you. If that doesn’t work, talk to your parents about how it really hurts you and how they won’t stop.

I checked with school counselor Jana Standish to get her opinion. She agreed with me:

“It’s kind of normal but it sure doesn’t feel good. How about if that girl makes sure her friend connections are really good and gets herself invited over to friends’ houses. Having some activities to do always helps,” Ms. Standish said.

She also suggested your mom sit down with you and your sisters and have a talk. Meet with one sister at a time — only one at a time, Ms. Standish said, to keep the power situation even — and use an “I feel” statement. “I feel really sad when you call me names.”

If you need further help, Ms. Standish said, you can ask your mom.
She added: “Maybe once in a while they can take her along with them or do an activity together for a short period of time. A game or an activity for a few minutes.

“Here’s the deal with siblings,” she said. “It can be really rough at times. But when the chips are down and somebody really, really needs help or somebody’s hurt, siblings are almost always there for each other. Siblings often — not always — but often end up being really good friends.”

I hope your sisters start treating you better!
Your friend, Ainsley

Ainsley Bogel tackles sibling/family strife issues for the Flow. Ask her your pressing question at


‘You are more important to your parents than whatever they got divorced for

HARPERDEAR HARPER: This is very personal so I won’t give my name. I’ve never even seen anyone’s name except yours on these things so maybe that’s how it works. My parents are divorced and I rarely see my dad anymore. This makes me sad. Now my mom wants to marry her boyfriend, who actually is a cool guy and I have a lot of fun with him and his son. I just don’t want to never see my dad again, like if he gets his feelings hurt. That would destroy me. So I don’t know what anyone can say but there it is. — Anonymous

DEAR ANONYMOUS: I know this is tough but you can get through this. Talk to your mom. She can help you set up time to spend with your dad.

Always remember that your dad is in your heart even if you can’t be with him every day. Talk to your dad so he knows what’s going on with you. It’s important to spend time with both of your parents. It’s important that you let them know that.

This is new for ALL of you. It’s going to take some time to get used to it. From what you say, it sounds like your dad might need a little time alone at first before he is comfortable coming over to pick you up. You might need to give him more time to get used to it. Maybe you can tell your dad about your day with a daily phone call or email to keep him involved in your life.

It might be a good idea to ask your school counselor (if you have one) for their advice. I know that you are more important to your parents than whatever they got divorced for. They will want to help you.
I admire your bravery for asking about this. Tell me how everything goes.

Your friend,

Harper Brown is one of The BSE Flow’s advice columnists and its New York bureau chief. Got a question? Write Please include your name and contact information. We won’t print your name if you ask us not to.

Help clingy siblings make their own friends

Sibling logoDear Ainsley: I have a younger brother. He should have his own friends and interests but he’s always trying to take over when my friends are over, and my parents just let him. Even though I love him I can’t get away from him and he’s driving me nuts! What do you think? — Annoyed in Fifth Grade

Dear Annoyed: Whenever Eliza and I get annoyed at each other because of space we get together as a family and discuss a schedule for where we’ll be in the day. I think that might work for you too.

As for the issue of the friends, you should try and encourage your brother to make friends and hang out with them and not yours. You could also give him tips on making friends. If you’re new to the school, you can tell him to go up and introduce himself to that person and they might get off to a good start and become friends.
It may be that your brother feels shy without you or thinks of you as a role model and doesn’t know what to do without you. That might change as he grows up and he’ll be better at making his own friends.

My sister and I are very rarely good friends but sometimes we are goodish friends because we did things like these tips, so give them a try. You don’t have to have a younger sibling to have these problems.
Good luck!

Are you having problems with a brother or a sister? Are you, yourself, a problem child and need advice? Do you want to share a tip or trick you’ve picked up to make having a brother or sister more bearable? Or hey, do you have a story to share about how wonderful it can be to have a brother or sister?  Write Sibling vs. Sibling at Include your name and a way to reach you in case we have questions. We will not use anyone’s name in print. (To protect the innocent.)