My five-year-old gets jealous very easily. I notice that sometimes when I comment on my younger son's actions, saying that he is funny or cute, my older son would immediately do something similar in hope that I would also say the same of him.
I am not sure how other parents would react in the same situation, but I have to admit that I feel irritated when my older son does that.
Pin me please
I understand that he desires my love and attention and in my defense, I think I have always been doing my best in giving my children as much equal attention as possible.
But I cannot deny the fact that my children have very different personalities, and as such, it is only natural that I have different responses to their actions.
This is not to say that I don't think my older son is funny or adorable. I think he is absolutely adorable and hilarious at times, in his only unique way.
What I cannot tolerate is him trying to mimic his little brother just to invoke the same reaction from me.
Maybe I over-react at times. But I try to reinforce to my older son that I love him just the way he is. There is absolutely no need for him to follow his brother because he is unique in his own way.
Basically, my boys are very different, and I truly enjoy and appreciate their differences which make them uniquely 'them'.
I tell my older son that as the oldest child, it is inevitable that his younger siblings tend to copy him because they look up to him and want to learn from him.
I encourage him to take leadership among his siblings and that he shouldn't be a follower.
Of course, there is always room to learn from each other regardless of birth order. But there just isn't a need to mimic his younger siblings.
It is not the first time that I am teaching my five-year-old the concept of "fair versus equal". He may not fully comprehend but I know it is important to help him understand.
I explain to him that it is not possible for me to be equal all the time.
Just like when I bought new clothes for my five-year-old because he outgrew them, and didn't buy for his brother, I wasn't being equal.
When the time came for my younger son to progress to wearing underpants, I bought him new ones and didn't get new ones for his older brother. I could tell from my older son's reaction that he wasn't too pleased that his younger brother had new clothes that day, but he didn't.
I certainly wasn't being equal, but I can safely say that I was being very fair.
In my humble opinion, it is incredibly challenging to be equal to our children. Can we love them equally? To be honest, I don't think so.
I may not express my love equally all the time, but I always tell them my love for each of them is unconditional.
If I laugh at my 18-month-old daughter playing with her saliva and chide my 5-year-old for doing the same thing, am I loving them unequally?
As adults, it is easy for us to explain our actions and reactions, but it could be very confusing for our children to understand.
I spend much more time explaining such concepts to my five-year-old, but not his younger brother, am I being unfair?
I used to struggle with guilt that I did not give as much attention to my second son during his first year of birth as compared to my firstborn. Then I tried to overcompensate in other ways which were then seemed as me being biased towards my younger son.
It certainly hurts to be judged or accused of being unfair and loving one child more than another. Who else but the mom feels the most connection to the children she bore?
It did not come easy. But as I grow as a mother with each new addition to the family, I have learned to put aside judgment from the people around me.
I have also come to terms with accepting that it is not possible for me to treat my children equally. I will always strive to be fair in the way I treat my children.
After all, my love is not equal.
Pin me please
Faith became a mother of three by the age of 30. After becoming pregnant with her third baby, she was determined to find ways to work from home while being the main caregiver for her young children. She was inspired and motivated to be a Mompreneur and discovered that she could put her passion to work! She rekindled her love for writing and with a heart for all her fellow mommies, she has taken to documenting her motherhood journey which also serves as a source of encouragement and inspiration to other moms.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!