Parenting more than one child can be a marvelous opportunity, allowing the relationship between siblings to be loving, engaging, and instructive for both the kids and parents alike.
At the same time, there is a pattern that can emerge which disrupts some of the opportunities for development and positive growth.
Along the journey, depending on the age difference, a 2nd child may precipitate unexpected emotional stresses and be in the crosshairs to absorb some challenging emotional blows.
“Second Child Syndrome” may evoke competition and provoke a situation where the younger child is destined to underperform by comparison. Shouldn’t it just be innate that the second child would know that it’s ok to get to the finish line at their own pace? We know it doesn’t work quite that way…and the brunt of the emotional loss of status can translate into anger, hostility, anxiety, or worse-depression.
The early detection of this emerging pattern is tricky to catch and manage. How do early sibling experiences in your family of origin play into your approach? Your sibling relationships and those of your children are and will be the longest lasting relationships you have second to your spouses. What can you do today to overcome any limiting patterns from your past? What methods do you think will be the most productive to allow for all siblings to enjoy their unique positions and capabilities, so each can find their own self-value and purpose?
And what about the point of view of the youngest sibling? In one instance, a particularly articulate young client was able to identify that each of her parents were the older siblings when they grew up, and in conflict situations, they always seemed to side with her older brother. Seeking equality in handling emotionally charged situations can make it even more challenging for the children, not just the parents. Managing these opportunities is like a dance. Have you thought about everyone’s point of view in the dance and the roles they inevitably play?