Parenting more than one child will always result in some sort of comparison. No one sets out to compare two individuals who grew up under the same roof, but it happens quite often. Teachers, relatives and peers will all see the differences between siblings and comment on them. The key to dodging the detrimental effects of this trend is showing the overshadowed sibling that they are an individual. They are not, in fact, a replica or even a younger version of their older sibling.
The first step to encouraging an overshadowed sibling is actually to help them see their brother or sister in a positive light. They could be harboring resentment towards that individual, and this underlying resentment needs to be curbed before they are able to effectively build their positive self-esteem. Focus on the best characteristics of the spotlighted sibling and explain that those are their characteristics. Nothing about that other sibling can define the overshadowed one without permission. Seeing this good in their sibling as a unique quality will help dissolve the resentment. Because the truth is, the overshadowed sibling has just as many unique qualities. Facilitate an environment where they can figure out what they are good at and do not require them to follow in a sibling or parent’s footsteps.
Growing up with siblings can create a wonderful, fulfilling family environment as long as children are allowed to become unique individuals. People will always draw connections between siblings. Giving a child the tools to see those connections as a point of pride instead of contention will facilitate a healthier family atmosphere.
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