Did you raise your younger siblings

Firstborn

Relationships | Family | education

The initial situation:

The new parents are breaking new ground, but they usually have quite a lot of ideas about what this new territory should look like and what rules apply in it. You want to do everything right, but at the same time you are unsure and overwhelmed because you lack experience. The parents usually have a lot of time to address the needs of the child and, depending on the relatives, there are also other adults who pay a lot of attention to them. Every development step is an event that is celebrated and recorded in the family album. The first-born child spends a large part of its time in the company of adults, whom it naturally emulates because they are its role models.

The chance:

  • The first-born child benefits from a lot of attention and things are explained for which there is usually little time with a second or third child.
  • The incentive to emulate adults is great. Studies show that firstborn babies have a slightly higher IQ, learn to walk and speak earlier, and are more likely to hold positions of responsibility later in life.
  • Firstborns learn to take responsibility at an early age and often have a strong protective instinct.
  • The concerns of the oldest children are usually taken particularly seriously, as every new phase of life is also new for the parents.

The challenges:

  • A lot of adult attention can also create a lot of pressure not to make mistakes. This is why firstborns are often said to be perfectionists.
  • The arrival of a younger sibling and the associated loss of that unique position in the family can hit a firstborn child hard.
  • As soon as there is a second child, the first-born is "big", regardless of how small it actually is. It is therefore often expected that it is sensible and provides a role model for its little siblings. Never having a sibling in front of you who paves the way can be quite exhausting.
  • In many families, firstborns have to help more than their younger siblings. Often they are hired to take care of the little ones without being asked.

Raising firstborns:

  • Prepare the first child well for their sibling, show them that you still love them as much as they did before, and create opportunities to spend time alone with their firstborn after the baby arrives.
  • Also, give the oldest child opportunities to be small and vulnerable. It may be big compared to its siblings, but its age is still small.
  • When giving assignments to your children, make sure that the firstborn is not always the most burdened. Smaller children can also help out at home and take on responsibility. The eldest should also be allowed to do something that the younger ones are not yet allowed to do.
  • A crawling sibling is a real challenge for a firstborn who has had everything to himself up to now. It keeps breaking things and if you get angry about it, your parents will scold you. An area that the smaller child cannot access can relax the situation.
  • If the first-born is significantly older than the smaller sibling, do not use it to babysit without being asked. There is nothing to be said against hiring the eldest to take care of her every now and then, but then with prior agreement. Some parents sometimes pay their oldest child a reasonable babysitting fee if they have to look after two or three little siblings all evening.
  • From a certain age, firstborns interfere vigorously in the upbringing of their smaller siblings and are often stricter because they think the parents let "the little one" get away with anything. So don't just leave your younger children to the powerful older sibling and take corrective action when the oldest is too tough.
  • If your firstborn child has a tendency towards perfectionism, it is especially important not to criticize them all the time, but to emphasize that mistakes are permissible and that your affection does not depend on the child's performance. Admit to your own mistakes, because the oldest child looks the most from you.

More articles on sibling:

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Sibling rivalry

Quarrel among siblings

Sandwich kid

Is there an ideal age difference?

Last update: 18-03-20, TV