Skip to main content

Give the elder child a break - By Ruth Liew

It may be disheartening for the older kid to always be asked to give in to his sibling.ARE you treating your elder child unfairly to protect the younger one? I remember my parents telling me that I, as the eldest of three children, should be a good role model to my siblings.
Like many an eldest child, I was expected to take on more responsibilities with the arrival of each new sibling.My grandmother would punish me harshly when my sister and I fought. She would take her side because my sister would be the first to cry when approached.I was often told: “You are the eldest sister. You must give in to your younger siblings.”

Generally, oldest children are subjected to stricter discipline and expected to meet higher standards than their younger siblings.Owing to new parents’ anxiety, the first-born may often end up being expected to grow up faster than he could cope.Parents are unaware of the message they send to both older and younger children when they step in to protect the latter.

An aunt wrote to me about her two nephews aged four and six. She was concerned that whenever the boys got into trouble with one another, their mother would not heed the eldest’s defence of himself.Instead, she would force him to own up to his faults as a way to shield the younger lad.What may happen is that the latter will learn to resolve conflicts by manipulating their parents against the older brother or sister. In the case of these two brothers, the younger son would never admit his mistakes but put the blame on his brother.Sadly, many busy parents opt to use the least amount of time and effort to get their children to behave properly.
They will punish them when they can’t get them to co-operate. They will be dismayed to find that children in their early years do not benefit much from such an approach.

What these kids need is to learn and develop appropriate skills in handling conflicts.Children as young as about one-and-a-half years old are capable of observing the way their parents manage sibling conflicts. They know how to manipulate the situation to their favour.

I remember my younger daughter would cry louder than her sister when they were confronted after making a mistake.Parents who want to teach their children fair play must first practise what they preach.If two children are struggling over a toy, help them find a solution to their problem. Refrain from asking: “Who started the fight first?” or “Who got the toy first?”

Parents fare better when they help both children learn to be accountable for their actions.Tell both children: “You have to get along and work things out between you. Let me know if you need my help to offer suggestions on how to play together without fighting.”

When children have decided on a solution, accept and respect their choice. Do not act as adjudicator in the dispute.Children need to know that fighting is never about who is right or wrong. Both parties must be responsible for their roles in the argument.Refrain from comparing their differences as siblings. The last thing a child needs to hear is: “You are older. You should know better.”

It is exasperating for any kid to constantly bear the brunt of his parents’ ire. Consequently, he may feel he is never good enough for his parents while his younger sibling may end up feeling that he needs protection all the time.To encourage both siblings to feel capable and independent, parents must be prepared to accept each child for their strengths and weaknesses.

Help them achieve their individual goals.Siblings find it harder to get along when parents make comments such as: “Why can’t you get the answer? Your younger brother can remember but you can’t.”
Emphasise on their kind deeds towards one another. Saying things like: “It’s very nice of you to help your sister with her shoes,” can make a big, positive difference to your children’s lives together.

Ruth Liew is a child developmentalist, Montessori trainer and examiner. A mother of two teenage daughters, she is committed to supporting children’s rights.

Popular posts from this blog

Salam Ramadhan dari

Kami di ingin mengucapkan Salam Ramadhan & Selamat Berpuasa kepada semua pelanggan muslim kami. Semoga kita mendapat keberkatan dariNya. ^_^

Claim your Shopee Voucher in March 2019

Are you eyeing for that Special Edition Cloth Diaper?
Here's your chance to save.
Claim your Shopee voucher& spend it on our Shopee Store

Horror at my daughter's kindie - part 1 : The Roslan Incident

I'm extremely disappointed by the experience i went thru today with the Genius Aulad Kota Damansara transport service provider. I have the impression that they are the best all this while & boy i was wrong. I was shocked that the complaint of level of service they've provided me, I'm being dismissed as disrespectful & was told that the are much happier for not having me as a customer. MasyaAllah. Makes me wonder who is the customer here. No word of apology from them & they actually threatened my daughters nursery teacher. Oh dear, what have i got myself into.
            Thankfully, GA Center Manager apologize of what had happened. I'd like her to be aware of what kind of service that Encik Roslan has given me when he is under stress.

Let's see what i went thru today, shall we?

1. Its 12 pm. First Mr A called & said he's already at my house to pick my daughter up in which i responded that the have to pick her at her nursery (which is 5 mins awa…