Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teaching him from the start

When parents have two or more children, they often wonder what the siblings will teach each other, mostly, what the older ones will teach the younger ones. There are always jokes about bad habits being taught or older brothers teaching their younger siblings how to get into trouble, but there is a whole other side to that coin.

Logan loves to teach Carter anything and everything. He loves to teach him how to play with cars and now they play together every day. He loves to teach him how to clap (as he started clapping yesterday). Now? He loves to teach him how to walk.

Carter has been trying to walk and cruise the furniture. I've taken him by the hands and walked him around the living room with Logan yelling with excitement right beside him. "You're doing it! You're doing it all by yourself!"

This afternoon I left the two boys to play in the living room while I went upstairs to grab some work. I wasn't gone long, but longer than a few minutes. I came back down and Logan had Carter by the hands trying (not so gracefully) to walk him around the living room. Both of them were smiling, especially Carter. He loved it. After telling them how cute that was and praising Logan for being such a nice Big Brother, he (not so gracefully) let Carter drop to the floor, who was still all smiles.

Last week I had been talking with friends about the role of the oldest sibling. Being the oldest myself, I always felt responsible for my sisters at certain points. I would often get in trouble for things they did as well. My friends and I wonder if that's just what being a first born is all about or if it's something the parent puts on the eldest.

Logan certainly takes on responsibility for Carter, making sure baby gates are closed, entertaining him at times, and when I tell Carter No or try to redirect him after he's getting into trouble, Logan is right there to enforce the rules and take over the minute I turn my back. It seems he feels a bit responsible for the upbringing of his little brother. Already.

I often wonder how much of that is Logan and how much of that is me putting that responsibility on him. While most of it is cute now, will he resent it later in life? Will he always feel responsible for Carter? Is this a nature versus nurture situation?


Joanna said...

Interesting questions.

Kayla has always played "momma" to Kelsie helping her with whatever it is she needed, without me ever asking.

So cute that Logan was helping him walk!

Kelly said...

I think that when the parents want to make the first child feel included, the best way to do so is to ask them to be the 'helper'. Which...turns into a life-long role. Not a bad thing, though. Not necessarily. I'm an oldest, too :) Of four girls! I never felt pressured, not really, to help, but I did. I am still very bossy. Its all my moms fault ;)

Evolving Mommy Catherine said...

I am the oldest too and I have also always felt responsible for my siblings (and still find myself trying to guide them). I am also 4-5 years older then them so I think a lot of responsibility was placed on me because of the age gap.

I think it is natural of the oldest to want to share their hard earned knowledge with their siblings.