27May2019

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Kids Conflict 2 – Second Child Syndrome

Yes, there is such a syndrome & it’s real. It was based on the observation from many families that when their elder child is regarded as the model of the child in the family, their second or middle child behavior exactly the opposite way. As a mom said, “My eldest son is an angel, he is such a responsible person, head prefect in school, excel in piano & sports and always in the top 3 scorer in school examination too, how I wish my younger son is just 10% of his brother”.

Her younger son is highly rebellious, very demanding, stubborn and always in the headlock with his father, as everything that the parents requested, their younger son will do otherwise; even to the extent of running away from home. Eventually, they have to give way to their younger one and let him get away or get whatever he desired. Indeed, the comparison is the killer here. Second-born children are often born into a competitive atmosphere, attempting to live up to the pressure created by the eldest. For your second child to be able to flourish it is important to celebrate their differences rather than making them fit the mould created by the first-born. Second-born often adopt behaviors and characteristics that are the exact opposite of the first-born. Often when a first-born is cooperative and pleasant, the second may be the trouble-maker. At least everyone knows he or she is around.

If your first-born excel in everything, there’s good chance the second-born will be under tremendous pressure as he may feel overwhelmed and suffocated, thus break away by doing the opposite in everything. Especially if bother are of the same gender. What can parents do? Firstly, be conscious & aware that no comparison is made. Find and groom your second born in different talent so that the second born has something to demonstrate that the elder can’t. Appreciate their differences and see them as individual with different needs. Get them to play in non competitive sports instead of competitive sports. Eg. Mountain climbing, kayaking, snorkeling, water rafting, where team work are needed and they can share the same stories on their way back home. Build from here. If the relationship gets better, get them to work as a team against other opponent in more competitive games. Be creative and be aware. You can turn things around.

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