Helping Your Oldest Child Respect Differences between Siblings

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Posted on: 29 December 2016

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Helping Your Oldest Child Respect Differences between Siblings In a family with more than one child, it is rare to have even two children with similar personalities. Because we are each unique beings, there is a wide range of temperaments even within families where everyone is living under one roof. Birth order can play a big role in shaping who your children are and who they become. Here are a few tips on how you can help your oldest child respect differences between siblings. Privilege and Responsibility Older siblings are often naturally responsible. It comes fairly innately to them to be rule followers. This is a quality that is often admired among adults and makes parenting them easier in some ways. However, there are some drawbacks. They can easily feel taken advantage of if we as parents do not reward them for this level of responsibility when they have shown it. Teach your child about the correlation between privilege and responsibility. The famous quote, “with great privilege comes great responsibility” goes the other way as well. When your oldest child shows outstanding responsibility in some area, be sure to reward them with a special privilege to remind them that they do get special benefits. For example, if your child has been helping out with getting meals ready and assisting their siblings with small tasks, let him (or her) stay up half an hour later than the rest of his siblings. Be vocal about why you feel he has earned this privilege. This will help him feel that he is appreciated. Don’t Take Advantage of Your Eldest On the other end of things, be sure not to overwork your oldest child. Just because he is capable of babysitting his siblings doesn’t mean you should use him as a free babysitter or expect him to drop plans whenever you need someone to watch the kids. This is a quick way to lose his trust. Treat him with the same respect that you would treat an adult, or a young person outside of your family. Offer Specific Praise Instead of just saying “good job” to your oldest child, give them specific praise. Offer compliments such as, “I was impressed by your determination” or, “Thank you so much for encouraging your little sister to listen to mom.” This comes across as more sincere than empty praise. Let your oldest child also hear you offering specific praise to his siblings, as this will help him to recognize these special attributes in them that may have been difficult for him to see. Speak Highly of Their Siblings Do not use your oldest child as a confidant with whom you share your parenting problems. When you speak about any of your children to their siblings, speak highly of them. Otherwise, your child will begin to take on the offence in their own mind, and think less and less of his siblings. Your oldest child is a unique person. Being the oldest child can be a challenge, so it is our job as parents to help them become completely comfortable in their role as the oldest sibling. With some help from these ideas, your oldest child will learn to respect and appreciate his younger siblings and will better understand his role as the oldest one.

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