Parents desire to devote all their time and attention to their child but parents with more than one child may find it difficult to do so. Most parents want to spend equal attention on each child but the sibling rivalry for love and attention will not be solved with just an equal distribution of time and affection. This is because every child is unique and different. Every child experience and feel love differently so the need to offer each one equal attention.
When a new child is added to the family, this change causes insecurity in the older child and attention-seeking behaviours might surface. The key is in managing this change and reassuring your first child that the parents’ love for him or her is not lesser than before.
Here are great tips to on how to give equal attention to your children:
Take turns to spend quality time with the child
When a new baby is born, there could be changes in the roles of each parent. Previously, it could be mum who makes breakfast and sends the older child to school. With the new baby, it could be dad who is doing those jobs now. While it is good that the older child still gets to spend time with his parent one to one, it may not be healthy if he or she only gets to spend alone time with his father. The child might develop sentiments such as, “dad is on my side, mum is not.” Both parents have to take turns to spend quality time with the child so that he will know that the love from each parent has not reduced.
Give responsibilities to the older child
By doing so, the child will feel that he or she is in charge of taking care of the younger sibling rather rivalling him or her. Both children are part of the family and the older child has to understand that he or she now has a new role to play as an older sibling. Allow the child to feel proud rather than resentful of his or her younger sibling.
Acknowledge each child as a unique individual
Every child is a whole person that is more than his or her strengths, weaknesses and identities as older or younger sibling. It is easy to fall into the trap of saying, “you have to give in to her because she is the younger one”, “you can do it by yourself since you are the older brother.” Even though the older sibling is supposed to set a good example and serve as a role model, parents should not discount the feelings and insecurities of the older child. Some of the child’s fears are real and not merely attention-seeking stunts. Also, the younger sibling might feel inferior and weaker to his or her older sibling if the identity card is played too much.
It is not easy to juggle between two or more children, and many times parents struggle with what is equal and what is fair. Remember that no children are the same and each child deserves to be seen as a special individual.