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I was sitting on a pear tree, with my legs dangling from the branch; I would scream time and again at a sibling as they chased each other in a circle. Then unconsciously, I would take a glance at the street which led to our compound for signs of daddy’s white Peugeot 504.

Then, I would go back to watching my siblings play. I always wondered how they did it. I didn’t know how to play, neither did I get the chance to. I was told at every opportunity to look after the children. I was always scared of making mistakes, I wanted to please dad and mom, always waiting for a word of encouragement to tell me how I’ve been doing a good job. It never came. “Proooooom, prooooom”, came the sound of daddy’s car from a distance, jolting me out of my reverie. My siblings were already at the door, struggling all at once, to enter the house before daddy’s car came into the compound. You’d have thought they were being chased by a masquerade.

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I quickly jumped down from the tree and ran inside to close the door. When daddy came into the house, guess what…we looked like innocents; he met all 6 of us, in our room, engrossed with reading, like we’ve been busy all day. We only raised our heads to welcome him and went back to reading. After my dad went to his room, the siblings started chuckling. My next reaction was to whisper to them to be quiet. Sometimes, they listen, sometimes they don’t.

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Being a first child can be stressful, yes, it has its benefits; but you can be in a lot of pressure. Especially when it’s being drummed in your ears at every slight chance that you have a lot of responsibilities, be it to watch the siblings or as regards the household chores. We can be controlled when taking charge of these responsibilities, which can lead to excess stress for a child who already feels pressure to be perfect. How can you help these “mini-adults”?


How To Overcome Firstborn Syndrome.


Try not to overload the child in proportion to his/her age or capabilities. Provide opportunities for the child to play and relax. They learned how to be mini-adults so fast they’ve forgotten how to play. They need vocal permission to be kids. I never saw myself as a kid; I always felt grown up and thought that that was all there was to be an adult. Leadership skills should be encouraged by asking them to teach their siblings with love, how to perform tasks. The first child has the tendency to be bossy; sometimes giving commands the way they’ve seen their parents do. This habit has to be curbed at its early stage. Encourage and praise him/her at intervals, because they can do anything to please their parents and meet up to expectation; and when this is not forthcoming, they feel miserable because they believe they’ve failed. Be careful of the words you say to them. Spend quality time with them, talk to them in a casual manner; not drilling them with questions on homework or responsibilities.


Conclusively, firstborn children should be appreciated; let them know that you recognize their worth, shower then with love and make sure you lead by example, the values of saying, “sorry”, “please” and “thank you”.

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