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How do you ensure that all your kids get the same amount of attention?

Forum: Large Families


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  • 3 Post By Repti.Mom
  • 1 Post By JoyfulChaosMama

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June 11th, 2012, 08:27 AM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,249
So I'm really concerned that my two middle boys, numbers 3 and 4 in birth order, maybe feel left out, or that they don't get as much time spent with them as the other kids. Anyone else worry about this?!

We don't have "favorites" among our kids, but ages warrant different treatment, if that makes sense. Our oldest 2 are 13 and 11, one girl one boy, and as is typical, we have way more photos of those two - as they weren't just the first daughter/son but also first grandchildren to my parents, so first Granddaughter and first grandson....so before the other kids came a long, they were a bit spoiled.

Son number 2 arrived, and he was spoiled a bit, too by family and we made sure we treated everyone equally. He was 11 months old when I got preggers with son number 3, so 20 months between the boys, and son number 2 didn't get to be the baby as long as the other kids did. If that makes sense.

Son number 2 had a lot of jealousy over son 3 for a few months after his birth, but later adjusted well after I made son 3 "our baby".

Son number 3 was the baby for almost 3 years, and then we had son number 4. Son 3 had a hard time adjusting, even though I tried the whole "our baby" scenario with him, too. He was OK with the baby, but he was a lot whiney until he started Kindergarden, and still is whiney sometimes now even though he is 7, especially when he didn't get his way or he thought another child was getting more attention than him or got something or did something he either didn't get or we said he wasn't old enough to do. He's had a harder time than the other kids accepting the age boundaries for some activities.

Now, DS 4 is 3, we have Baby Girl who is almost 9 months old. He loves his baby sister, and tells everyone she's his baby. During the school year, DS and Baby girl had our sole attention all day long, because the oldest 4 are in school.

So here's where I am concerned - school is now out, all the kids are here all day long, and while the older 2 are of an age to go do things on their own, have special priveleges and out of the home activities, the youngest 2 are still pretty dependent on us (mom and dad) to help them with things like getting dressed, baths, potty breaks and/or diaper changes. Plus baby girl needs supervised when she's playing on the floor, etc. So I'm concerned, since my two middle boys are at this "in between" age, that they maybe feel neglected, or left out - not that it's intentional. I'm just afraid it's there.

So my idea is to have a time set aside for each "set" of kids. Does this sound awful?! I figure, there's 4 weeks in a month - one week could be a family outing, with all of us, or date night for Mom and Dad, and the rest of the month we take one "set" of kids out (while the rest are with a sitter) and engage in age appropriate activities for the set of kids with us.

Example, my older 2 kids would like to go to an amusement park. The youngest 2 kids wouldn't really get much out of that, and my middle 2 boys would be too short for most of the rides. We could take the middle two boys to a zoo or Chuckie Cheese or some other age appropriate activity. The youngest 2 a playground or something.

All of the kids want to go to a water park, so that would be a family activity. We also plan to take them to an aquarium this summer.

I am sorry this turned out so long. I didn't start out to be so long and rambling. Do I sound nuts?

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June 11th, 2012, 10:35 AM
Farmers-wife's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,406
No, you sound like a mom of many in various stages of development and trying to be a good mother to all of them.

But I can't help because I am no good to any of mine!

But you have some good ideas and a god plan. Go for it. They all need you at different levels and different things. Do your best and put another $20 in the therapy jar for later.
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June 11th, 2012, 11:04 AM
Repti.Mom's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 15,641
I think you already said it in your post, they just don't. Each one gets different attention at different ages. Older kids obviously don't need to be attached to your boob and have their butt wiped so that right there is "less" attention. You're doing fine

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June 11th, 2012, 11:45 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,224
My kids don't get 'equal attention'... each individual gets the attention s/he needs. It works out.
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June 11th, 2012, 12:00 PM
KrazE's Avatar ShutTheFrontDoor
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Edit to remove post

Last edited by KrazE; July 10th, 2012 at 07:05 AM.
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June 11th, 2012, 12:05 PM
Platinum Supermommy
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Location: Andrews AFB, MD
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I have one I kind of worry I am short-changing too. My older two are just loud mouths and are always wanting to tell me something or do something with me. Then there's Katy, the neediest toddler ever. That just leave Carrie (4) who has always been very independent and easy. It's very easy to get through the day and realize I haven't spent hardly any time with her. I do feel like she is very much the "middle child" even though I have four. Beth and Matt are only a year apart, and we're both off to school this year, and Katy Ann is the baby. I've really been making an effort to seek Carrie out and stick her in my lap for a book or two. Or sit down and play tea party with her. Really anything....I just try to make sure I join her and give her some of my time. I don't want her to miss out just because she is the only quiet one. I am thankful for one quiet one anyway.
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June 11th, 2012, 01:07 PM
Babymakes8's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Ohio
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clouise, I think that's what I'm obsessing over, the middle child syndrome. I saw it in my brother as a kid growing up - he really was always short changed. He felt like our youngest brother or I got most of mom's attentions, and he is right. We did. Not that we did it on purpose, it's just how it was living with a single mom.

I don't want any of my children to ever feel like I didn't have or didn't make time for them. I try to listen to each one individually when they have something to say. We just took all of them to a local park the other day, which is like a mini amusement park with rides and everything. Everyone rode rides, had cotton candy, and ice cream, and I tried to get several pictures of each child - but sometimes when they're running in a million different directions that's hard to do.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I want to be sure I'm meeting each child's emotional needs, making sure they each know they are an important member of our family.

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June 11th, 2012, 01:49 PM
UrbanMomma's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I really have to agree with Repti and Joyful.....
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June 13th, 2012, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 132
i think you just have to do your best and, especially with the older kids, be honest with them.

We have 1dd and then a 7 year gap then 5 more children in the next 6 years. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to make sure that my oldest didnt have to make any sacrifices just because she was no longer an only child. I still try to make sure she doesnt go without but somewhere along the line we realized there are as many blessings that come from a big family as there are drawbacks. So we talked to our dd and adjusted our thinking a little. She knows that while there are some things she doesn't get that she might have if we didnt have so many little ones, There are also a lot of things she does get because she has siblings.
Angel '97 Aundrea '04 Alex '06 Ammon '08 Aleah '10 Ava '10 Adalyn '12
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June 13th, 2012, 08:14 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 2,740
I worry about this alot. My oldest gets the least of my attention and has the most responsibility in the house. However I do try to make a point of stopping to listen when he tells me about his day, or little things like tell him when I learn about something I think he would like. However when I feel like he has been in the back for a while I make sure to take him out to dinner just him and me. With so many different ages and personalities to juggle I think even finding a few minutes a day to devote to each child is good.

You seem to have a great plan worked out.
MOM of 6!

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