I don’t want to share a room anymore! I want my own room, and I don’t want to share a room with anybody! My brother makes all the big messes and then I am stuck cleaning them up! He never does anything but play, make a mess, play, make a mess and play some more! I am tired of being blamed for all his messes! I really want my own room! (dreaded deep tone) I don’t even like him! He can find his own room!
So goes the repeated mantra of my seven-year old……
My seven-year old acts this way whenever there is work to do. Especially when it comes to cleaning his room! I have noticed that a few of his little friends carry the same attitude! A few of them act as though they have “Only Child Syndrome” you remember OCS don’t you? You could pick OCS sufferers a mile away, they were always dressed in the latest designer clothes, they always had the newest school supplies, when they reached high school they always recieved new cars on their 16th birthdays! (Ok before some of you lone children get your panties in an uproar. I have plenty of friends who are the product of being an “only child” and they are some of the finest examples of human beings I have the pleasure to know. I am referencing the other half. You know what I am taking about too. Dont act like you don’t. Read on if you are unsure) They threw temper tantrums when they didn’t get what they wanted and heaven help you if you stood in their way or picked on one! The OCS sufferer would cry all the way home to mommy, who would then have daddy come knock on your door presumably to straighten things out and ensure you never picked on little OCS boy again. They never played well with others nor understood the meaning of the word “share”. Sometimes they wanted to fight you and afterwards there was no saying sorry and making a new friend! (If you fought afterwards you made a friend;my era school yard rules)
Little does my 7-year-old know he is behaving like an only child, like a prima donna, like the world should bow before him! Like he should be able to snap his little fingers and POW! Mommy and daddy are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, all to please his majesty!
I wonder where this behavior comes from? I question it constantly? He is the fourth of four children. The two older ones are older by quite a bit and his sister is only a year ahead of him. This make me wonder if he is carrying a form of “little” child syndrome? ( I totally made that up) To little to do anything good. “Good” meaning anything he is not allowed to do and since there is no one smaller than him, he has no one to dominate over? Gosh, I guess carrying all that frustration inside must make him feel as though he needs to exert dominance over everyone just to be noticed! (Just thinking outloud) But where he is failing miserably is the finesse! He also hasn’t mastered the art of manipulation or revenge! If my little brother had continually gotten me in trouble by leaving a messy room after I cleaned it up…. Short sheet beds, warm water on the hand at night, cayenne pepper on the pillow, and my personal favorite, the freshly dogged licked toothbrush are just a few that come to mind. Now I know that sounds like a lot to ask from a seven-year old. But not this little boy, he is a softer Stewie Griffin! I promise! Some nights I swear he’s up in his room playing with Legos trying to create a death ray so he can control all of mankind!
But why, why has he not mastered these skills, why is he behaving like a little “snot” with OCS? Why is he lacking the ability to cope with just about any situation he comes across? Why does he say Cool Whip with an emphasis on the WH? (only Family Guy lovers will get that). Well I think I have the answer, and I am pretty sure that all you parents with multiple children are going to say one of two things after I tell you.
- Not true I treat all my kids the same you are a crazy hack!
- Holy Cow! You are right I didn’t realize I was doing that, oh my gosh!
So here it is: Those of us with multiple kids have a tendency to treat them differently from the rest. They are babied a little more, we do things for them we didn’t with the two middle children. They get a little more cuddly time than the others. When they fall down and hurt themselves, super special attention is paid to them! Do you know why? Huh do ya? Because they are the last freaking child! HELLO!!!!!! They are and will be the baby until the day YOU die! There are no more kids behind left to cuddle and snuggle and hold. No more story time, no more butterfly kisses! No more play-dough sculptures and macaroni paintings, class plays and cookie social. The last of the squeaky, cute voices running through the house naked after a bath! Santa Claus is on his way out, the tooth fairy is forever banished back to imaginary land! And don’t even get me started on the existence of the sugar crack peddling Easter Bunny! Yep that’s right get all those special moments and emotions in while you can because JR is growing up and there’s nothing you can do about it!!
Heres where the OCS (Only Child Syndrome) comes back into play. Now take all that awesome parenting you have done (Snuggles, painting, story time etc..) with the last kid. Throw in all the parenting you havent done! Remembering the last kid gets into the least amount of trouble with the parents because the parents have a tendency to let the older children do a fair portion of the parenting. You know what I am talking about; between babysitting and watching them while you run errands. Being to exhausted to care after squelching emotional fires all day between the four of them. Suddenly it all makes sense! It has all come together! The picture is painted with the brush strokes of ignorance!
So how do we fix it? How do we get our little “Stewie” to quit acting like a prima donna and help his older brother with his room? How do we start acting like parents should and quit babying the baby? Well I really don’t think there is a definitive answer to those questions. You are always going to baby your baby, that’s all there is to it. It is a right of passage for you as a parent when the youngest grows up and moves on into the world. They will always be your baby and there is nothing they can do about it either. So try a little harder to at least equal out the special treatment just a little. Also maybe its time we took some of the responsibility away from the oldest all while recognizing him for his contributions to his mother and I’s sanity.
What I ended up doing to stop the “I want him to move out of the room” squabble was the best. When it was time for bed I kept his older brother downstairs. After a while a humble little 7-year-old came down asking when his brother was coming to bed? He’s not I replied, now off to bed with you. The 7-year-old came down again asking the same question to which I replied in a sarcastic Father knows best tone, I thought you wanted your own room? Meekly the answer came back. He can stay, please, I really didn’t mean it. Can he come to bed now? Yep something comforting about having your 11 year old “big” brother sleeping in the top bunk when you’re 7 and still scared of the dark! Huh? Sleep well little “Stewie” theres always tomorrow for world domination.