Did you know that birth order can have a significant impact on your children’s behaviour, emotions and personality development?
Each of your children has a unique place in the family with different experiences and challenges which will shape them as a person. It is important that as a parent you are aware of these differences, in order to help your children grow up equally.
The eldest child
The eldest child has the privilege of being the focus of all your love and attention for a while. As a new parent, you will probably put a great deal of effort into raising them the right way, researching the best pushchairs and toys for your new baby, and reading up everything you can about having your first child. Your firstborn will benefit greatly from the undivided attention of you and your family as you all join together to celebrate their birth. This often leads to the child growing up feeling confident and self-assured; however, there are also challenges that come along with this place in the family.
When new arrivals come along, the eldest child can often end up feeling “dethroned” by their younger siblings and as you spend time nurturing your new-born, the eldest child may conclude that you love and care about them more.
This can lead to feelings of sadness, anger and frustration and its common for older siblings to act out and misbehave in order to get your attention.
Here are some steps you can take to help your eldest overcome these challenges and to ensure they stay feeling included…
The best way to ensure your eldest feels included is to spend time alone with them on a regular basis. This could be a special outing or just some quality time spent at home. For example, when the baby is sleeping, you could play a game or read a book with the older sibling. If you are short on time, try to them in your daily routine, for example preparing a meal together or inviting them to come shopping with you.
Dig out the family albums and show your eldest photographs and videos of how you spent time together when they were little. This will show them how you cared for them so they know they received the same love and attention as their younger siblings.
Ask them to help
Another good way to keep your eldest child feeling included is to ask them to help out with their younger sibling. This could be helping you prep the younger siblings lunchtime snack or helping read them a bedtime story.
Once your eldest child begins to engage with these tasks, offer them rewards for helping. This will ensure that they don’t become bored of helping out and do not feel excluded.
Talk to them
Talk to your child directly about the changes in your family and their feelings towards it. Tell them that it’s natural for children to feel sad or angry about change and ask them to come to you when they are feeling down or need attention. Reassure your older child by telling them that you have enough love for all your children.
If you are struggling to keep balance in your family and think I might be able to help you, please get in touch today for a no-obligation chat on 01625 909209.