In any family, there are strengths and weaknesses. Each family has their own combination of personalities among those who live there, which always makes for an interesting time.
Helping Your Younger Child Respect Differences between Siblings
With younger siblings, there are many common traits across the board and some particular issues that will come up time and time again no matter what family you are taking a look at. It is important to resolve issues within your family and help all your children learn to respect each other and appreciate each other for their differences if everyone is to get along and be supportive of each other.
Here are some ways you can help your youngest child to recognize and respect the differences between them and their siblings.
Teach them to Respect the Position of the Older Child
If you are blessed with a particularly responsible older child (as is the case in the majority of families), teach your younger child that it is a great thing to be the youngest, as they have natural role models among their older peers within their own family. Help your child realize the special position they hold, a bit like being a student among many teachers. This is not always fun for them, but it is certainly something they can grow to appreciate as they get older – especially if you have emphasized it from the time they are young.
2. Teach Them Responsibility
Your younger child may be able to get away with more mischief, and you may be inclined to let them do so because you consider it one of the few perks of being the youngest child – or just because they are cute. This will ultimately backfire, however. Teach your youngest child responsibility, and it will help them to value the responsibility that their older siblings must carry. By sharing the load we learn to empathize with others, and this is most certainly the case when it comes to siblings.
3. Don’t Allow Them to Slip through the Cracks
When you were a first-time parent, you likely obsessed over every decision, every move, and every morsel of food you placed in your firstbornís mouth. The tendency is to relax as your family grows. In some ways this is great, and in some ways it is destructive. Your youngest child should never feel as though you donít have time for them, or as though they are flying under the radar. This will breed resentment for their siblings, which can destroy any respect they might have naturally had for them. Keep things equal, and allow your youngest child to feel valued and cared for just as much as your oldest child.
4. Don’t Compare
Maybe your oldest child was a mini Einstein, and your youngest couldn’t care less about school. Resist the temptation to compare your younger child to their older sibling with comments such as, When your brother was your age and If only you were focused like your big sister. Comments like these can devastate and tear apart the relationships of your children with each other. Instead of comparing, focus on the attributes that your youngest child brings to the table. There should be room for individuality, and freedom from having to perform.
Raising a family has many challenges. If you would like to avoid some of the pitfalls of raising children who dislike each other and lack respect for their siblings, try to keep things running smoothly by using these ideas. Your reward will be a family who cares for each other and instead of animosity, shows value and regard for each other.
Helping Your Middle Child Respect Differences between Siblings
Being a middle child is often said to be difficult. There are stereotypes of the forgotten middle child, and jokes about them not getting attention. Being the middle child doesnít have to be a negative experience, though, and there is a lot you can do to lessen the tough parts and accentuate the positives. When you are proactive about this, you will naturally encourage respect in your middle child for their siblings. Here are some ideas to get you started on this important task.
Point Out Your Other Children’s Strengths
It is difficult for any sibling to always see the strong points in their brothers and sisters. Simple immaturity and typical childhood antics mean lots of fighting and plenty of rivalries. As a parent, it is up to you to do your best to smooth out the rough edges in your childrenís relationship, especially when they are young.
Take time to talk with your middle child about their siblingsí strong points and to encourage them to recognize those strong points. Remind them as often as needed, without becoming annoying about it. When you give a compliment to any of your other children, allow your middle child to be there to witness it. Build your home around an atmosphere of encouragement and admiration for each other, which will make it easier for your children to give love to everyone else.
2. Encourage Your Other Children to Return Respect
When you have done what you can to point out the good qualities in siblings and to encourage respect, then be sure to encourage the respect both ways. Let your older and younger children know about the things you admire in your middle child. Point out his or her good qualities – whether it be a willingness to help out others or a great enthusiasm for life. This returned respect will reinforce the positive encouragement you are giving your middle child because when respect is reciprocated it grows even more.
3. Be Sure to Spend Quality Time with Your Middle Child
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your middle child is to neglect to give them quality time. It is easy for your child to feel lost when they are sandwiched in between siblings.
The older child is often more responsible and has more privileges, and the younger child is often the life of the party and thought of as cute enough to get away with practically anything. Give your middle child plenty of your time, and the reassurance that they are special to you. This will lessen the competition between the siblings and allow for a positive relationship to continue to develop. When your middle child truly understands that they do not need to compete with siblings for your attention, there will be much more respect and consideration between them.
Being a parent of multiple children is both a blessing and a challenge. Anger can erupt in the group when you least expect it, and it can be explosive at times. By building respect among your children for each other, things will sail more smoothly in your home. Use your special position as a parent to encourage your middle child to see the strengths in their siblings that will help them all grow closer together.
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.
1. 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, ìwith great privilege comes great responsibilityî 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.
2. 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 doesnít 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 offense 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.