Polk Moms

Connecting moms in Polk County, Fla.

We have five girls and one son. Our son is the baby of the family and is now one. However, our daughters do everything for him. We are afraid that he will not learn anything on his own as well as become really spoiled. How can we get these little girls to understand that while their love is appreciated, they have to let their little brother do some things by himself without making them upset?

My husband and I talked about this question, since we also have five daughters and one son. We allowed all of our girls to "baby" our son for a while and didn't think anything about it. I think with your son being only one that it's really not an issue yet. However, if there are specific things you are concerned with, talk to his big sisters as a group and ask them to wait before doing something for him to see if he can do it himself. Young children enjoy doing tasks for their parents so they will probably listen to your instructions. It's all in how you word it. - Gary and Jeri H. in San Diego, CA

FROM JODIE:

I'm sure that they really are helping in many ways. Older siblings usually enjoy doing things for the younger kids in the family, especially if he/she is the baby. Talking to them about the situation in a calm tone would be a good start. However, they may or may not understand that the things that they do for and with their little brother could possibly be considered doing something wrong or that you actually want them to stop. Therefore, show them what you would like for their response to be in different situations for him. For example, if he wants a toy, show and tell them that they can move it closer but not hand it to him. Explain that by moving it closer, he will be encouraged to try and get it himself by either crawling, or even walking to it, if he's already walking, and that by doing so he will be exercising his leg muscles and hand-eye coordination. Then, tell them why it's important for him to strengthen these muscles for various developmental stages as he grows, etc. You could even share a children's book with them about the developmental stages that has simple but large pictures about babies up to age five. This way, they can see firsthand what is going on and it will make your explanations for the different situations more understandable as well as when you show them what you would like for them to do. Their behavior may not change overnight and it certainly won't be easy, but with patience and repetition, all five will get it sooner or later. Each time that they do the appropriate behavior and response, offer a little praise.

CAN YOU HELP?

My husband is a real stickler for organization at home and at work. He pretty much drives everyone nuts with it. We have two kids under the age of seven and he is constantly trying to make them understand how to be more organized. I think this is silly and plain dumb. They're only kids. What should I do?

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