Written by Doctor G

What To Do When an Older Child Steps in to Parent a Younger Child

Are you adding to your family and thinking about the changing dynamic or struggling with your older child trying to “parent” his or her younger siblings? Don’t worry! This is something common that happens in many families. The older children are often excited to help out with the younger ones and love to have that responsibility. As a parent, this can be really helpful, especially when you have multiple children! But what if your older child goes from helping and being a good big brother or sister to “parenting” their younger sibling? Some examples may be:

  • Trying to discipline their younger sibling for you
  • Bossing the younger sibling around
  • Treating the younger sibling like a toy or doll

It’s important if you see this behavior to step in and have a conversation with the older child. You can even involve the younger child’s input as well if they are able to communicate it.

Watch this video where I give you some conversation starters and ways to encourage the older sibling to be an awesome brother or sister vs. being a parent.

I think it’s great that your child is taking the initiative to help out and take care of their younger sibling. You just need to make sure that the dynamic between the two is healthy for both children. You don’t want the older child becoming stressed about taking care of their younger sibling or possibly getting into a situation of sibling bullying.

So why do older children become bossy? Well, it may have to do with their birth order.

Here are some interesting beliefs about children and birth order:


They like taking charge

They have oodles of confidence

They are more likely to be perfectionists

They can also become over protective and tentative *** this is where the problem may lie when it comes to younger siblings.

Middle Kids

Often seeks a role completely opposite from the first born

Gravitate to friends outside the family

Can be the most independent

Youngest Kids

They may not have as much responsibility as the other siblings so they tend to be more carefree and easy going

They can be more sociable

They like to make people laugh

Of course, every kid is their own person. It’s just interesting how people who have studied birth order have found these consistencies within the family dynamic. Do your kids follow these traits?

How have you handled older siblings “parenting” in your household?  Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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