8 Parenting Mistakes the Older Child Will Never Forget
Many people dream of having a big, happy family. But having a new child is not only happy but also very scary considering everything that can go wrong. And the oldest children, just like adults, have to deal with certain difficulties. Because of this, mothers and fathers have to pay close attention to both their family’s newer additions and their firstborn. And these older kids need to get used to the changes in the family and be prepared to help.
We at Bright Side have reviewed the opinions of psychologists, parents, and the oldest children in families to find out what mistakes moms and dads often make.
Not preparing children for the fact that they’re going to have a sibling
The news that parents will soon have a baby may come as a shock for a child. The child used to be the center of the family — everyone cared only about them — and now they’re going to have to fight for their parents’ attention. Many children start to think that their parents decided to find a replacement for them and start to hate their siblings before they’re even born.
This is why it’s extremely important to talk to your children about new babies. Parents need to explain that there are a lot of benefits that come with a new brother or sister. For example, they’ll always have someone to play with, they can teach the baby a lot, and they’ll be a good role model for them. Of course, parents also need to make sure they have enough love for everyone.
When a new child is born, parents get really busy with a lot of work and don’t always notice that some of their actions violate the private space of their first child. For example, they may start giving the child’s toys and other things to the new baby.
When parents do things like this, children stop trusting themselves and start to doubt if they’re important to their parents, resulting in them growing up to be shy.
- “I teach my kids that there are toys everyone can play with and there are personal toys. Each of my kids has a favorite toy that belongs only to them. So, if they don’t want to share it with someone, they don’t have to.” © FRIKADELECHKA / Pikabu
Changing family traditions
The appearance of a new child is an important event that is, of course, very stressful. The oldest child also has to deal with a lot of stress, which is why good family traditions become even more important. If parents used to read books to their kid before bedtime, sang songs, and brushed their teeth together, they need to continue doing these things.
Family traditions unite its members and help every person feel that they’re important. And the oldest child has a chance to adapt and understand that despite the big changes, their parents will still read books to them before they go to sleep, no matter what.
Comparing children to each other
The older a child becomes, the more often they have to fight for their personality and the more conflicts they have with the people around them. At moments like these, parents often want to say something along the lines of: “Why can’t you be as nice as your little sister?” But comparing children is not a good idea.
Studies show that such behavior has a negative influence on the psychological state of both kids. One child becomes stressed because the expectations are too high and the other one feels that there’s something wrong with them, which makes the relationship with their parents tense.
Thinking that a child is a young adult
Parents often expect their oldest children to act like adults and to help around the house and with the little children. But the most important job of any child is to develop and grow and not take care of other kids. You can ask your children for help that they can realistically give and show them that being the oldest child is a privilege, not a curse. For example, you can let them go to bed 30 minutes later or let them go to the movies with their friends.
Sometimes, moms and dads don’t have enough power to pay enough attention to both the newborn child and the oldest child. Parents may start to ignore their oldest children. But such behavior is really dangerous for kids. This may make it very hard for the kids to build communication with others and show them their emotions.
The best solution would be to try to explain to your child that you get really tired and when the new baby grows up a little, they won’t need as much care.
Not talking to your kids face to face
Doctors claim that face to face communication between parents and children helps kids to develop in a healthy way and improves their confidence and learning skills. At the same time, experts say that it’s not about the amount of time you spend together, it’s all about the quality.
This is especially important when everyone is stressed. When a mom or dad finds time to talk to their children, the kids feel special and important.
- “My biggest advice for parents — split the kids. Let them spend time separately from each other. Walk with one of them, and then with the other, once a week. It will satisfy the need for personal communication with you and you’ll be interested to hear your kids’ secrets. When I went for a walk with my oldest daughter for the first time in a long time, she was just walking, holding my hand. After a long silence (and she’s usually silent only when she’s asleep), she said, ’Mom, it’s so cool to spend time just with you.’ This is how we solved the kids’ jealousy problem.” © Anarchy49 / Pikabu
Not praising the kids when they get along with each other
Ph.D. Gwen Dewar says that criticizing is much easier than praising. But if you praise your kids, you improve their self-esteem and develop their communication skills. If your kids feel your support and understand that it makes their parents happy when they get along, they’ll try to get along even better.
What difficulties did you face when you had another child? Or maybe you’re the oldest child in a family and you have something to share. Tell us in the comments!