3-4 YEARS OLD

Help your mid­dle child over­come feel­ings of ne­glect and neg­a­tiv­ity.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

It is con­ve­nient for your kids to at­tend the same class, but this can smother your mid­dle child’s in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

If you have three kids, con­sider how your No. 2 is cop­ing with mid­dle child syn­drome. That’s when he feels hard done by be­cause of his po­si­tion in the fam­ily.

He gets nei­ther the ad­van­tages of the el­dest child (who has all the “firsts” and is al­lowed the most free­dom) nor the ad­van­tages of the youngest (of­ten spoilt and al­lowed to do most things he was never al­lowed to).

Learn how to pre­vent his sense of in­jus­tice in the fol­low­ing com­plaints.

“You al­ways miss me out.”

THE COM­PLAINT THE SO­LU­TION Make sure your mid­dle child feels as spe­cial as his si­b­lings. He needs to feel that he mat­ters as much as other kids in the fam­ily. So en­sure he doesn’t get lost in that psy­cho­log­i­cal space be­tween the old­est and the youngest by giv­ing him a fair share of your in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion. A few min­utes of one-on-one time with you each day is all that is re­quired.

“You don’t care about me.”

THE COM­PLAINT THE SO­LU­TION

You may find that you are less ex­cited about his suc­cess than you were about his elder sis­ter’s gains (such as her first step, first word, first maths test score). It’s not that you love him less; it’s just that the nov­elty has worn off. That’s why you need to show en­thu­si­asm for all your mid­dle child’s achieve­ments.

THE COM­PLAINT

“I never get to choose.”

THE SO­LU­TION For the next fam­ily out­ing, dis­cuss the op­tions with your kids and let the mid­dle child de­cide. That em­pow­ers him, al­lows him the ex­pe­ri­ence of mak­ing choices, and pre­vents him from feel­ing his voice is never heard. And if you ask him to choose, ac­cept his de­ci­sion even if it isn’t your pref­er­ence.

THE COM­PLAINT

“I’m never rst in line.”

THE SO­LU­TION Why should your first­born al­ways be served first? It’s im­por­tant that your mid­dle child has his turn of be­ing first some­times. That helps pre­vent him from feel­ing that he is al­ways at the back of the queue.

THE COM­PLAINT

“I al­ways get hand-me-downs.”

THE SO­LU­TION

It’s of­ten cost-ef­fec­tive to buy your old­est child the uni­sex jumper be­cause she can pass the clothes she has out­grown to her younger si­b­lings. That’s a good use of the re­sources. But, if pos­si­ble, oc­ca­sion­ally let your mid­dle child be the one who gets the new item. He’ll re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity.

THE COM­PLAINT

“I’m fed up be­ing com­pared to my brother.”

THE SO­LU­TION Treat each kid in­di­vid­u­ally. Com­par­ing one to another – es­pe­cially of the mid­dle child against his older sib­ling – is al­ways di­vi­sive and rarely pro­duc­tive. It’s best to avoid sib­ling com­par­isons al­to­gether, and in­stead, judge your chil­dren’s achieve­ments against them­selves.

THE COM­PLAINT

“You make me do what my sis­ter does.”

THE SO­LU­TION

If your el­dest kid at­tends a drama class, it is prob­a­bly con­ve­nient for your mid­dle child to at­tend the same class – this can be much eas­ier than at­tend­ing a dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­ity. How­ever, this tac­tic smoth­ers your mid­dle child’s in­di­vid­u­al­ity. When you can, give him a free choice about his leisure ac­tiv­i­ties.

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