Today in my new advice column, I have received a question asking how to give my son enough of my attention when his siblings need so much of it. How to give equal time to your kids – agh so many people struggle with this one.
When we are time short quality over quantity has to be the answer.
How do I stop my oldest child feeling they get less attention than their siblings?
I’m worried my oldest child (12) is missing out. My two younger children have additional needs that often mean they need more of our time. As a result, my oldest has always been quite sensible and self-reliant which is obviously good in many ways. Equally, I don’t want him to feel he isn’t valued and supported in the same way as his siblings especially as he becomes a teenager with all that entails?
How to give equal attention to your kids
I think the very fact you are asking this question shows just how sensitive and empathic you are as a parent. Your son at 12 has most probably picked up those attributes too and si aware of the pull on your time his younger siblings have due to their additional needs.
Have you talked to him about this and how it feels for him? It might prove enlightening to get his views on this, and he might not perceive it as you do. It would be good for him to hear how you feel though and how you want to ensure he feels just as loved. You may get some reassurance too from his feedback or it may clarify for you what he needs more of.
It is hard to have precious 1:1 time with all your kids but it is so enriching and valuable. It doesn’t have to be equal in terms of quantity but of quality. It is a mark of grwoing up that kids will usually want less. but it is the quality of time that matters and the regularity,
I often think one of the very best ways to fit it in is to timetable it and to double up. For example, perhaps yous on could cook with you twice a week, something you would be doing anyway but an opportunity to hang out together just the two of you and try some new things. Perhaps you could both exercise together, a game of tennis or a run around the park? Ask him for ideas too (my son and I go guerrilla gardening together and it makes us laugh so much!)
Carving out time is not always easy but it is always worth it. Being a bit older could he stay up a bit later and you have a late evening TV series just the 2 of you watch or play a game together he loves once a week? Squeeze in that precious time to connect when you can, it doesn’t have to be a lot of time, just a small dose of undivided attention on a regular basis can be all that’s required.
I hope that’s given you a little food for thought, your son sounds a complete star and I hope his teen years are happy and full of adventure.
Wishing you precious times,
Wondering how to give equal attention to your kids is a common issue so I hope more than just my letter writer have found this valuable. if you have a parenting dilemma please email me at Becky.Goddard@ntlworld.com