The oldest child is usually described as overprotective and demanding. As parents, it’s exhausting when we are constantly reminding our precious first born to be kind and loving instead of bossy and rude.
I began to think about how I want my oldest daughter to use this gift of being the first born in a positive way. While we can wish and think about how we want our children to be, we must put these thoughts to action by teaching and training them.
My goal is to educate my children in the importance of their birth order. God has a purpose for each of us and we have been given our own personalities to fulfill our calling’s.
Now, I don’t want to put too much pressure on my oldest child. But I do believe that it’s important that we make them aware that they are an example to their younger siblings. They are kind of like our guinea pigs when it comes to parenting. We think that we know what to do, but sometimes we fail miserably instead. This means that we must constantly search our hearts as parents and review what we need to change.
For us, we have seen the benefits of focusing on our oldest child’s behavior and character because so many times the younger ones follow in her footsteps.
Everyday we remind Charlotte that she is an example to her siblings. I pray that even at 4 years old, she would realize the responsibility that comes with being the first born. God has given her the gift of leadership and it is my hope that she would honor Him through this blessing.
I know that at times she will be annoyed and frustrated when her siblings want to do everything that she is doing, but it’s our job as her parents to make this a positive experience.
I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the TV show, 19 kids and counting. I was so curious on how Michelle handled that many children but still remained so gentle and calm. I remember watching an episode where Michelle was talking about how she tells her oldest children to not get upset when the younger ones want to do what they do. Her point was something like, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. This has stuck with me years later as our family has grown.
When we explain to Charlotte that her brother and sisters want to be like her because she is the oldest it changes her perspective. She becomes more aware of her actions and behavior.
It encourages her to do what is right.
My youngest (15 months old) is currently learning basic responsibilities like cleaning up, saying please/thank you, and staying quiet during prayer time. When he succeeds at these tasks, it makes Charlotte excited. She loves to see her younger siblings learn to do what is expected in our family. This is our goal. We want to make her fully aware of how she can encourage her brother and sister to do what honors us as parents and ultimately honors God.
We must train our oldest child to find joy in being helpful and responsible. By teaching them that they have a very special role as the oldest, they will enjoy caring for their siblings or learning a new task.
I hope that Charlotte will become a woman that encourages and motivates, not just her siblings, but others for the rest of her life.
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