How to Balance the Relationship Among Multi-Child Families

文/荟同学校 心理老师 胡旭丹 By Huitong School Counsellor Ms. Danielle Hu


"My youngest baby is an angel, very good at making elders happy and always receive praises from school teachers. The oldest is a real headache, often receive complaints. Same mom and dad, same family environment, where did it go wrong?"


"My two children always like to argue and tell on each other. When I intervene to judge, they think I'm favoring one side or the other. I don't care about them and worry that their conflict is getting bigger and bigger."


"Every time a family member praises one child, the other is unconvinced and even starts to attack each other.
What was supposed to be a happy thing ended in a quarrel. "


"My eldest baby are elementary school students, see me hug the little baby, but also to fight jealousy, soul torture me 'love him or not'!"


The above voices are the confusion and disbelief expressed during the parents' consultation with the school counsellors. Since the opening of the three-child policy, the number of families with two or three children has been increasing, and many parents are facing similar problems. How to balance the relationship between parents and children and establish a good relationship between them has also become a mandatory lesson in the parenting classroom.

首先,家长要知道,孩子在一个家庭里的出生顺序就某种程度上,就决定了他的成长之路的不同,影响了他个性与发展,以及面对生活和问题时的态度等。心理学家Alfred Adler指出:哪怕同样的父母在同一个环境下养育两个孩子,孩子的出生顺序对孩子的心理发展的影响是有巨大差异的。美国麻省理工学院人脑与认知科学系学者弗兰克.J.萨洛维对同一家庭的兄弟姐妹做了长达25年的跟踪研究,他发现兄弟姐妹的个性存在极大差异。老大往往性格保守,责任心强,同时往往会不够自信,甚至会有压抑和敏感个性。中间的孩子得到的关注往往是最少的,他们会缺乏安全感,但他们的社交能力更强的、处理问题更有策略、更灵活。最小的孩子为了保护自己,争取更多父母的关爱的与精力,往往更会讨好长辈,更容易得到长辈的喜爱,性格更为开朗乐观,更有创造力,喜欢冒险。

First of all, parents should know that the birth order of a child in a family determines, in a way, the different paths of his development, influencing his personality and development, as well as his attitude when facing life and problems. Psychologist Mr. Alfred Adler points out that even if the same parents raise two children in the same environment, there is a huge difference in the impact of the birth order of the children on their psychological development. Mr. Frank J. Salovey, a scholar in the Department of Human Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did a 25-year follow-up study of siblings in the same family and found that the personalities of siblings differed greatly. The oldest tends to be reserved and responsible, while often being less confident and even having a repressed and sensitive personality. The middle child tends to get the least attention, and they will be insecure, but they are more socially competent, strategic and flexible in dealing with problems. The youngest children tend to please their elders more and are more likely to be loved by them in order to protect themselves and gain more parental care and energy, and have more cheerful and optimistic personalities, are more creative and like to take risks.


Of course not all families and children are the same, there are many reasons for the differences between siblings, and each family is different. To be a catalyst for good relationships between children, try the following methods.

1、接受孩子之间的不同,避免比较 Accept the differences between children and avoid comparison


Every child is unique, with different personalities, temperament characteristics, interests, and ability development. Each child has shining points that we should explore and appreciate, as well as weak points that they need to improve. We should not only looking at our children's growth with a developmental perspective, but also avoid comparing them intentionally or unintentionally in front of our children. In homeschooling with multiple children, parents need to focus on each child's shining points and strengths and recognize them. Never compare one child's strengths with another child's weaknesses.

2、平衡陪伴时间,让孩子感受到你的爱 Balance your company time and let your child feel your love


Whether it is an only child or a child in a multi-child family, children all like to be loved and pampered. Even if parents are busy, they should spend some time to spend with their children separately, such as: separate dinner time with mom for the oldest, story time with mom for the youngest; riding activities with dad for the oldest, etc. Although parents have limited energy, special companionship for the oldest is essential to somewhat reduce the sense of disparity that the birth of a baby may bring to the oldest and increase the oldest's sense of security and belonging. Parents should express their love for their children with words and actions. When children can feel the love from their parents, they will be less likely to complain about their parents' eccentricity and less likely to fight for favor.

3、引导孩子自行解决矛盾,非必要不介入 Guide children to resolve conflicts on their own, don't intervene unless necessary


When conflicts arise between children, many parents get angry all of a sudden and blame their children first, regardless of the reason. In fact, it is normal for siblings to quarrel with each other, but it is more important to teach children how to resolve conflicts, which not only improves their problem-solving skills, but also prevents them from forming a dependency behavior of looking for adults to solve problems. When children argue, parents can first observe, do not easily intervene, unless the children are having safety risks. Then, parents should try to let the children solve their own problems. After the conflict, parents must discuss with their children, analyze the reasons for the conflict, try to put themselves in each other's shoes, praise what they did well, and reflect on what can be improved. If a parent has to intervene, empathize with the child's emotions before guiding him or her to talk about the problem and think about the best solution together.

4、建立孩子间的感情,杜绝互相告状 Establish emotion connections between children and put an end to telling on each other.

鼓励孩子们之间相互帮助,比如根据孩子的实际情况设置家务活任务,只有双方都完成了才能获得奖励,这样也会激励两个人一条心,关系也更为亲密。打小报告是最影响手足间关系的行为之一,拒绝接受孩子们之间互相告状也是建立孩子间感情的关键。当有一方向父母打小报告的时候,例如,妹妹向父母说:“哥哥今晚回家没有认真写作业,他在玩游戏。“这时父母可以告诉妹妹说:“感谢你对哥哥的关心,但是哥哥的事你不用太操心,我们要相信哥哥自己能做好的。我希望你多说说哥哥做得好的地方。” 同时也不要因为妹妹的告状,去批评哥哥。这样久而久之,孩子也会发现告状也取悦不了父母,也不能让兄弟姐妹陷入麻烦。

Encouraging children to help each other, such as setting chore tasks that are tailored to the child's situation and only rewarding both of them for completing them, will also motivate two people to work together and become closer. Telling on each other is one of the most damaging behaviors in a sibling relationship, and refusing to accept it is a key to building relationships between children. When one child tell on the other, for example, when a sister says to her parents, "My brother didn't do his homework tonight, he was playing games. "At this point, the parents can tell the sister, "Thank you for caring about your brother, but you don't have to worry too much about your brother, we have to believe that he can do a good job by himself. I want you to talk more about what your brother is doing well." Also, don't go criticizing the brother because of the sister's words. This way, over time, the child will also find that tattling doesn't please the parents, nor does it get the siblings into trouble.


In conclusion, it is not easy to balance the relationship of a multi-child family. Parents need to pay attention to the needs and emotional changes of each child, and balance the parent-child relationship and the relationship between the children in order for the children to have a sound mind.

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