Does second child syndrome really exist? Does your darling child number two really have a chip on their shoulder, in regards to how you’ve changed your parenting with them? A lot of mums and dads believe that it does, and worry about baby number two thinking things are unfair.
After speaking to a few mums with two, they seem to find the second more demanding, more prone to tantrums and in general harder work than number one. Those mums with second children who find things harder, could it not be due to the fact that whilst trying to look after number two, you also have number one to keep an eye on, help and care for too? Aren’t you still figuring out how things work with them, as they’re you’re first toddler, pre-schooler, young child? So your ‘workload’ has doubled and you’re still experiencing new things with that older child as well as looking after the younger one, so more than kept on your toes. With my girls, it’s not that my youngest is more difficult, just different people and that I have a lot on my plate.
I know I don’t treat my girls exactly the same. They are different people, and what works with Molly, does not work with Aoife and vice versa. Molly is very emotional, she wears her heart on her sleeve and needs calm and firm tones when she toes the line. Aoife, well if I was calm but firm with her, she’d laugh in my face. So I appear to be stricter with her but only because she responds better to that. Part of this is due to her age. She’s too young to understand explanations about why she can or can’t do something but in general, she is my wild child and I need to be a little more stern with her, mainly to stop her from swinging the cat around, diving head first of the coffee table and breaking bones! It doesn’t make me love her any less and I think her personality is just phenomenal and that we all need a little wildling in our lives to brighten our day! But as I said before, I have to be a little stricter with her or she just laughs at me.
My parenting has undoubtedly changed since Molly was the age Aoife is now. I have learnt what does and doesn’t work, how best to avoid meltdowns, what I will never do again, and the things I will do again. Parenting is a learning curve, and we apply what we’ve learnt the first time round, to our second and any subsequent children. We would be mad not too. So of course I do things differently this time, as I am sure I will do if I have any more. But if any one should have a chip on their shoulder, it should probably be child number one. Child number one is kind of the guinea pig. The one who you test your methods on and the child with whom you have no idea what does and doesn’t work. By the time you’re raising darling number two, you know your stuff (at least better than before anyway), you rock that nappy bag damn hard and you can change a bum, express your milk and update your baby record book all at the same time. Or at least that is the dream! So stop worrying about second child syndrome, or about whether you are parenting in the same way and just do what works and enjoy your children. They’ll grow up and know you tried your best either way I am sure. And if they don’t, get a puppy, they’re undoubtedly easier!
Here is my “little wildling” as you can see, she just oozes total cheekiness!