If parents constantly force older children to babysit the younger ones, this can result in a ruined childhood of an older child and other unpleasant consequences, Stanislav Sambursky, a clinical psychologist at Dr. Anikina’s Clinic and the author of the Ecological Psychologist Zen channel, told “Gazeta.ru”.
“You can’t leave children alone for a long time. If the difference between them is less than 12 years, such a decision can even turn into a disaster,” expert warns.
According to him, if one child is not much older, then he will not be able to save the youngest from a dangerous situation. Moreover, he may like a risky undertaking, and he will help his younger brother or sister to complete it as soon as possible. Another dangerous moment is the lack of first aid skills in children, Sambursky noted. For example, if the younger child chokes on something, the older one may be confused and not call the parents, because they will start scolding him because of what happened. In addition, when trying to provide assistance, there is a risk of aggravating the situation.
“Another thing is if the age difference between one and the other child is more than 12 years old. Then you can ask an older child to look after the younger one. But do not force, but ask if he can cope by providing an appropriate reward for his work,” – explained the psychologist.
The specialist emphasized that fairness is important in this matter and the teenager needs to compensate for the time spent, for example, give more money for pocket expenses, buy some thing or go to an entertainment event together. Imposition can cause dislike for the younger or even hatred. Also, Sambursky noted, it is unacceptable to punish older children for the bad behavior of younger ones. According to the doctor, in girls this can lead to the fact that, having matured, they do not want to have their own child, realizing that this is a huge work that was forced on them from an early age.