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#1 Doesn't Always Have to Give In

From "Mummies of Many" Series

· parenting tips,managing siblings,disciplining a child,parenting a toddler,parenting siblings

I believe many people would agree that being the firstborn in the family means enjoying certain privileges that the younger siblings do not have. The first being the exclusive attention from both parents and possibly all four grandparents, and even uncles and aunties, if the child is also the first grandchild in the family. Most of the time, the firstborn will also receive a lot of new items including clothes and toys, while his younger siblings will be receiving hand-me-downs from him especially if the children are of the same gender. In addition, the firstborn tends to have a bigger say due to his age and maturity, so his opinions might be more highly regarded as compared to his younger siblings. But with great privileges come great responsibilities. The firstborn also has great weight on his shoulders, especially in helping to care for his siblings and giving in to them.

When our young children fight, most of the time we would urge our older child to give in, since "he's older and knows better". This might work several times when the fights between siblings are still a relatively new issue, and when the younger sibling is under one year old. It is not unusual to see the baby snatch things from the older sibling's hands, and then cry when the older sibling takes it back, even when it's done gently. Sometimes to pacify the baby, we would get the older child to give in and let the baby sibling have it. But if this is done regularly, the baby will surely learn that he could whine his way to get what he wants, especially in getting his older sibling to give in. This would only build up within the older child, feelings of resentment towards the younger sibling and sense of injustice at his parents' seemingly unfair treatment.

I have to admit it is usually easier to get the older child to comply because he is more likely to understand your reasoning while the younger sibling reacts more emotionally with crying and whining, especially when he hasn't fully grasped language abilities.

I believe our children have a natural inclination to love and care for each other, as opposed to competing or fighting against one another.​ @mumpreneur264

We would unlikely view our parenting methods as unfair but it is essential to see things from our child's perspective. Therefore if our stance is to typically get one child to give in to the other, we are unwittingly creating discord and rifts between the children, thereby further encouraging sibling rivalry.

Please don't expect the older child to always give in. I'm the younger of two children in my family so I'm not speaking in defense of myself. We simply cannot expect our older child to feel good about constantly having to give in to the younger sibling. We need to be more aware of creating a fair and loving environment for our children, according to their perspectives.

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