What is First Born Syndrome
First born syndrome, or the oldest child syndrome, is the negative concept of a bossy or overly dominant child. Children who are born first are often the only child for a brief time until they are forced to deal with younger siblings. The age gap between the older child and its siblings will have great relevance also on how the syndrome can variate in roles of the child. Older children although often possess good leadership skills and valuable independence it can quickly tip into negative behavior if not recognized early in childhood.
Children that are closer in age will have a more childlike sibling bond. They will be closer in mental and growth stages and will learn at a closer rate. This gives even the older child a closer bond and can relieve the overly bossy or dominating role . With a larger gap between the first and second child, the older child will be forced to give up its role as the only child while either taking on new responsibilities or by being left in the shadow of the new baby. Each role can have serious effect on your child’s behavior.
How to Avoid First Born Syndrome
Giving your older child a leadership and helpful role in the introduction of a new baby can have wonderful consequences and it is important to “not” make the older child too responsible. Giving them free reign can be hazardous as well as stressful. Too much stress on a child can have them acting rebellious and even hurtful towards their new sibling.
You want the older sibling to play an important role in their siblings life as a nurturer and as a tutor but not as a fill in parent. The older child still needs to have their child time as well. You can give the older child small chores to help but also give them free time to still play and do the activities they enjoyed before their new brother or sister popped into the scene.
An older child will suddenly feel as though they may be left behind when a new sibling is born. To not leave your older child in the shadows it is also important to make them a part of daily routines and give them some responsibilities. Even if they are too small to be a real help it is important that they feel that they are. As they will often want to be helpful and earn favorable attention it is also important to not over scold when they try to help and have accidents.
Once you have established a healthy bond and time for your older child to be helpful it is also important to maintain some alone time also with the older child. Do not let the older child feel as though you do not have time for just them. It is important that they do understand that your time is more limited but to acclimate the new arrival and feelings of your older child it will be a process of sharing everyone’s time in a healthy fashion.