Having a second child, makes me look upon the first one very differently. Instead of the baby of the family, she is now the big sister. Her role has changed. She knows it. And she is living up to it.
According to psychologists, it is normal that the first born child starts to strive to get the parents’ attention after a second child is born. The first born has been an only child so far and did not need to share this attention for a period (in my daughter’s case five years). Now the first born will have to work extra hard to please the parent and receive thanks and compliments.
My daughter is trying so hard to be the perfect daughter and big sister. And I have to admit that she is succeeding as well. Most of the time it is a pleasure to have her around. She is great at entertaining her baby sister, can feed her sister a bottle of milk and shout loudly when diapers are getting smelly. So, it is quite easy to praise her. I find her especially helpful when shopping. I push the shopping trolley, my daughter the pram. She follows me right at my heels through the supermarket. Literally. I can’t blame her for the regular bump against my calves that I receive every time I slow down or stop walking. While inside my head I’m swearing, I keep telling myself; smile and praise her!
Is it fair to let my oldest daughter help out that much and ask her to take care of her little sister? I don’t see any problem. She likes it. But most of all, according to those psychologists it helps her getting more self esteem, and learn to develop a sense of responsibility and organizing skills. This is why oldest children usually achieve more than other children.
From the from 23 astronauts who went in space, 21 were oldest or only child. The largest part of all scientists, politicians and directors are first born children. You could say that they are born to be leaders. And according to this research these same social factors will help her getting a higher IQ. So, you could say that I’m doing her a favor.