I have a complex relationship with my eldest child. In part it comes down to the fact that I am the joint youngest of 5 children. Joint because I have a twin brother. This means that I have 3 people older than me who have to some extent spent the last 38 years bossing me around.
Older siblings see it as their birthright to order the younger sibs around and this isn’t just whilst growing up. I often watch my friends who are the eldest in their sibset comment on what’s good for their younger siblings, what they should and shouldn’t be doing (I should mention that all these ‘younger’ siblings are in their 30s and 40s). All this is an eye opener as it would never occur to me (a younger sibling) to have an opinion on my older siblings lives in this way.
Back to my relationship with my son. Boy does he love ordering his younger brother around. I get that it’s just part of life and ignore it. The younger one is much more likely to lamp his brother one when he crosses the line and happy that he can take care of himself, I let them get on with it and quarrel between them.
At times I have a shared joke or wink with the older son so he knows we’re just saying something for the benefit of the younger one and to get him in bed and out the picture. All good and I’m sure parents the world over have different codes and actions with their different children.
What *really* drives me nuts though is when the older siblings start parenting the younger ones. It’s all well and good when they’re helping get shoes on but not so good when they decide a younger sibling must be punished or controlled and start making suggestions to me (their mother) of their punishments. I’ll often come into the room to find the little one howling because the older one has taken it upon himself to tell the little one that he’ll be going to bed early or not playing playstation or some such, purely because his older brother has said so.
I’m sure this won’t change any time soon but whenever it happens I can’t help feeling a stab of sympathy for the little one and letting him know that I understand completely. Sometimes older siblings suck!