So here is a situation each and every one of us face; a family of 3 worrying joyously for the arrival of their second. I would keep asking myself; how will the eldest take it? Will we give the second equal attention? Are we spoiling one or both to keep the peace? It’s a delicate balance and one that must be carefully thought out.
We assumed that having our second child would turn the first mad with rage; after all, she did have us for a full 2 years. And most people did tell us to be ware from the jealousy of the first; so, we took a nice little vacation just the three of us and before our newest member of the family could join.
Lo and behold, it turned out we had nothing to worry about in regard to my eldest! The youngest on the other hand… that’s a whole other story! Little did we know; the older child got more attention by default. My older child has activities, gets to study with mummy and daddy, and has her own group of friends. The little one felt the lack of attention from us and started acting out through tantrums, whining, and misbehavior.
We decided that we wouldn’t want to get upset from our youngest for acting this way, she can’t help it and just wants the time and energy she sees being spent on the older one, and so we gave it to her! We really really did and believe me we also spoke to her a lot; separately and together. However, not much changed, perhaps it was her age, perhaps she got used to it and somehow it became a part of her personality, but misbehavior was not an option.
The things is that the little one would really hurt her older sister, and the older one would get really upset from her, and it was worrying me that it might cause a future break between them. Though I know this happens in every house hold, but what if…. We had to do something!
And so we consulted with a professional and we tried the consequence rule; when she acts out, we arrange for the same disciplinary action each time; going to bed (while keeping an eye). We stay away from bigger things like not going to a playdate or birthday party since we believe the consequence must fit the action, and that it has to be the same consequence each time so that the actions sink in.
AND THAT MUMS AND DADS, REALLY DID WORK!
So tell me, how do you handle a household with 2 or more children? How do you divide attention? What do you do to show everyone they’re loved equally?