Whether you have been parenting for one year or twenty, you know that every child is different. Your children have different personalities, they respond differently to you, and often birth order has a lot to do with this. Every single birth order position comes along with specific attributes and characteristics, although there may be exceptions from time to time. For every child, parenting skills have to be a bit different. Parenting your firstborn child can be tough. Understanding your firstborn, their personality, and characteristics can help you as a parent. Here is a closer look at the firstborn child and some great tips for parenting and raising them effectively.
Characteristics of a Firstborn Child
Before you can begin to realize how to best parent your firstborn child, you need to understand a bit more about them. Usually it is the firstborn child that ends up with a lot of attention, which leads to the development of their personality. Many times, there are big expectations for the firstborn, they spend a lot of time under scrutiny, and they often grow up quicker than other children in the birth order do.
Your firstborn child will probably have some aggressive and some compliant traits. Most firstborns are natural leaders and are very driven. They like having things go their way, they are assertive, driven, and perfectionists. Often they are the “movers and shakers” in the world, and this starts while they are young. However, on the complaint end, the oldest child also craves approval, is conscientious, a good team player, and they often are people players as well. Most are reliable, great caregivers, and they often have a nurturing personality. Other characteristics of the eldest child can include being ambitions, scholarly, enterprising, logical, and energetic.
Effective Firstborn Parenting Tips
Once you understand the mindset and personality traits of your firstborn child, it becomes easier to parent them effectively. To help you out as you work to raise your first born child to make all these firstborn characteristics work for them, here are some excellent tips that you can use.
Tip #1 – Work to Let Them Make Decisions on Their Own
Although it may be hard for you as a parent, work to let your firstborn make decisions on his or her own, as long as it isn’t a dangerous decision. It’s easy to want to push your child and they often will do things to please you, even if it is something they don’t like, such as taking those tuba lessons. Introducing your firstborn to something new is great, but don’t expect them to have to learn to like something over time. Let them make these types of decisions, such as whether they want to take piano lessons or dance lessons, on their own.
Tip #2 – Avoid Being Too Critical
As a parent, you definitely need to avoid being too critical with your oldest child. Usually these kids are already perfectionists. Criticize them all the time and your criticism may drive them to overachieve, which can become a problem. Relax and let your child realize it’s okay to make some mistakes along the way. They don’t have to be perfect for you to love them.
Tip #3 – Don’t Turn Your Firstborn into the Babysitter
One big mistake many parents make is turning the firstborn into the babysitter in the family. Your eldest will grow up fast enough, don’t make this happen faster. Even though your child is the oldest, they should not be made responsible for other children. This is taking advantage of your child and can lead to future problems. While it’s not a problem to expect your firstborn to have some responsibilities, they shouldn’t be responsible for others.
Tip #4 – Help Them Develop Patience
It’s important that you help your firstborn develop patience as they grow up. Firstborn’s have difficulty with patience. They like to be in control and they want things to go as they plan. Show patience to your child as you parent them, setting the example for them to be patient with others.
Tip #5 – Be Proud of Your Child – Not Just Their Skills
Sometimes as a parent it is easy for you to show your proud for your child’s skills. You love that they play an instrument well or that they are getting great grades in school. However, it is easy to take this too far and make your child think that love for them is based upon what they can do. Make sure you show your child that you are proud of them, not just the skills that they have.
Tip #6 – Take Time Out for Your Firstborn
Another important parenting tip for raising your firstborn is to take time out for your firstborn. Spend time with them one on one. Firstborn children really respond to time with adults and they often feel neglected by parents because you may spend a lot more time trying to deal with younger children. Make them feel important. Take them out for dinner alone, go on an errand and stop for ice cream, or just hang out together, watch a show, or spend a few minutes talking at the end of the day. You’ll be surprised at how great this makes your firstborn feel.
Tip #7 – Encourage Them to See the Big Picture
Your firstborn child often focuses on one task, trying to do it perfectly and they don’t look at the big picture. Perfectionism is not always a good thing. Spending hours on a project until it is perfect may not be the best thing. Having your child learn the material, making sure they do a good job, and ensuring they have fun is a better option.
Tip #8 – Teach Your Child to Compromise
Last, you need to teach your child to compromise. Since your firstborn child is a natural leader, often they can be a bit bossy or aggressive. While this can be positive in some ways, it can lead to them alienating their peers. Teach your child to compromise with other people without being bossy or feeling that it is their way or no way at all.
Your firstborn child is special. They come with their own personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Learn about your firstborn child and incorporate your knowledge into your parenting practices. With this information and these tips, you will be able to more effectively parent your firstborn so they grow up to be a successful and well adjusted adult.
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