Siblings are destined to be more different than alike. Differences in age, gender, intelligence level, or physical ailments require different parenting. For instance, older children should get certain privileges, in part due to the greater level of responsibility they are expected to assume in the household. Younger children need special consideration because they are less independent. A child with a learning disability may need extra time being read to or helped with homework.
But parents face a difficult juggling act in meeting the varying needs and expectations of their children without being accused of favoritism. If you learn how to listen to and observe your children, you will be more aware of their different perceptions and needs, and you'll be better able to respond successfully to each child and to the whole family.
As you watch your children grow up, remember that their similarities or differences are not as important as their overall development. Make an effort to accept and respect the basic uniqueness of each of your children. Kids need to feel loved, trusted, competent, and respected for who they are, not for who they are in comparison with their siblings.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, October 2001.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.