In some ways I fully anticipate my 2nd child and 3rd to help my firstborn. My first, mr. L has moderate to severe autism. My second son, mr. C is my neurotypical child, and my third, little miss A is also neurotypical with a speech delay. But with speech therapy she has been catching up very quickly and is expected to be where they would like her to be by kindergarten.
In ways mr. C can already do some things that are very difficult for mr. L to do. With help, and guidance mr. L can go grab me a towel to clean up a spill. But mr. C can more quickly grasp and understand requests like, “Can you grab a diaper, wipes, and diaper cream”. My son who has autism can eventually do these simple requests too, but he needs practice for each individual object that is asked for.
In ways it’s really good for my boys to be close in age, they are 8 and 6. Having a built in friend is great, but it also provides practice for my older son to learn communication skills, academic skills and other daily abilities. Without conscious thought mr. C constantly pushes and motivates mr. L to learn and grow.
But in some ways my first is still the big brother.
If my first gets a treat of any kind he needs to figure out how to share it three ways. If he is given a cookie, chocolate bar, or even the last slice of pizza he wants to share it with little miss A and mr. C. He is just so sweet about wanting to make sure things are fair between himself and his siblings.
2. Safety first
Mr. L has been wonderful about keeping things out of his baby sister’s mouth that she wasn’t supposed to get a hold of. To the point that she would try to hide from him things before trying to figure out how to gum them. Now that she is 2 and better about not putting everything in her mouth, mr. L still keeps her on her toes about keeping things that are not food out of her mouth, and lets us know if she tries to sneak out the door without permission. Safety first is a big thing to my first born, and he takes his job as big brother very seriously.
3. Stay cool
I have a limit to my patience just like any human, and mr. L can usually tell when his siblings are pushing it or have full on smacked it out of the park. When my first born senses his siblings are about to get a loud earful from me he will run interference and jump in between us and start shh’ing me before I can yell at anyone. His little sister had literally slapped him in the face, but he shh’d me when I went to get after her for it.
As far as basic raising and teaching my kids what’s right and wrong mr. L let’s me carry on with my business, but when I’m close to losing it, he just knows 😅
I work hard to raise my kids as individually as they are, but to treat them fairly too, it’s a balance.
Do your kids have traditional sibling roles? Did you?