I have three children aged 10, 6 and 5.
The 10 and 5 year old are boys and have regular battles. They always seem to want the same thing when playing and sometimes it is almost as if they are looking for an excuse to fight.
My 10 year old is by nature very sweet and sensitive. My 5 year old is the polar opposite. He is full on and boisterous.
Last night, there was a battle and to separate the boys, I sent my oldest boy upstairs. He got very upset so we talked. He told us how he felt through sobs and real tears. To summarise, he feels ..
* He gets the blame when the other children do something wrong
* He has to ask for hugs where I give them freely to my 5 year old
* He is not seen as special like the other children
These things are, of course, hard to hear from someone you love very much. He had three years with us when it was all about him and we loved that period with our first baby. Parenting seemed relatively simple and we saw him as a lovely bonus to our relationship.
Things get tougher when you have more children. You have to juggle and I guess it is all too easy to expect too much of your eldest child.
I did not initially bond with my 5 year old and it took me months to love him properly. I think I carry a residual guilt about that. I think he senses that I am that bit softer with him and being a cheeky chappy knows exactly how to play me. He pushes every boundary and all too often I give in for the sake of an easy life. I dont want to be screamed at or punched.
My other two children don't behave like that so I guess I can see my 10 year old's point that I am effectively rewarding my 5 year old for poor behaviour.
So I have a couple of New Year's Resolutions to add to my list.
I will take it easier on my 10 year old and make time for those all important hugs. I will show him just how much I love him and ensure we have quality time alone together. I am going to take him to a play next week as a starting point.
I will steel myself to discipline my 5 year old better and try to let myself of the guilt hook a bit.
I have heard about the tough times elder children have. Seems I am not being a very good Mummy to my 10 year old and I resolve to do much better.