When One Child Needs You More Than The Other

I am the proud mom of two little girls. Two amazing little girls who are as individual and unique as you ever did get. Not just in looks but in behaviour and character as well. My eldest daughter is an amazing child. She is clever, good at sports, kind, generous and she feels things very deeply. However, it is very apparent that she is very ‘needy’. Emotionally needy. So what do we do when one child needs you more than the other?

Lately I have found myself confiding in my youngest daughter to please help me when it comes to ‘managing’ my eldest. To put this into perspective, the youngest is 5 in two weeks time, and the eldest is 7 in about a months time. When I do this, I feel so guilty. #momguilt

I shouldn’t have to do that. She’s so little. But the fact is that I need her cooperation in order to actually achieve what is required.Here’s what happened today, as one example of what I mean.

Getting Ready For School

My eldest is terrified of being late. I don’t know why. She has never been late for school. Even if she was late, it’s not like the school will punish her but the thought of being late terrifies her.

She also has sensory issues so she freaks out if clothing is too tight on her wrists, or ankles, or if it’s too “heavy”. The weather turned yesterday and it is now so cold that she has to wear her jumper under her blazer. The blazer is compulsory for their winter uniform. She responds well to rules. So she doesn’t argue about the blazer, or the tie around her neck, but she has decided she hates her jumper. I guess because it’s optional.

But when it’s 6°C, is it really optional? Not in my opinion.

Yesterday morning it took me 20 minutes of calm reasoning and pleading to get her to wear her jumper. After many tears, she eventually conceded. The worst part of it all were her reasons for not wanting to wear her jumper:

  1. It makes her feel heavy.
  2. It makes her look fat!!!! (A topic for another blog post – I’m far too emotional about that to write about it now.)

Today it took 15 minutes.

The Silent Observer

During yesterday’s battle, my youngest was observing this whole scene whilst also trying to get her two minutes of airtime by ‘dragging her feet’ and not putting on her *blady* shoes! Every day! Same struggle.

Today – same story. Only today, half way through the jumper battle, she decides to say to her sister, “Don’t worry, you won’t look fat.”.


I know she did it to be kind to her sister. Or did she? I also know that she did it to deflect the fact that she, once again, was not putting on her shoes! Because I do actually see her.

But up until that point, the eldest hadn’t yet used that phrase as an argument to not wear her jumper.

I found myself hissing at the youngest,

“Why did you say that? Just leave it alone. I don’t need that right now. Can you not just help me with her because otherwise we ARE going to be late and you know how she will behave then? But don’t tell her that!”

No, I’m not proud of myself. It’s not the youngest child’s job to help me, the mother, to manage her overly sensitive older sister is it?

The Brutal Truth

But the fact is, she does know what I mean. Just as I know the eldest child’s trigger points, so does the youngest.

You see, as clever as my eldest is, I suspect the youngest is even more so. She also has the added advantage of not having the emotional and sensory issues that her older sister does. I suspect in time that this one will turn out to be one of those “ones to watch”. She’s a fighter and she’s stubborn, a born leader, independent and calculating in order to achieve her goals. She is also the most loving, and cuddly little monkey ever!

These are all qualities that I admire because, the reality is that I am far more like my eldest in character and personality, and I guess that is why I ‘get’ her when many others don’t. It’s quite possibly also the reason her and I fight as much as we do.

My mom and sister actually joke that I am the ‘needy’ one. I need my mom far more than my sister does. It’s a fact we all realise.

Birth Order

The other thought to consider is, does it have something to do with birth order?

I am the eldest child. Now I have two daughters, just as my mother did. But this is something I see with my mom friends too. Because the eldest child is the first to reach all the stages of life, we as their mothers are there to help them, hold their hand, support them through it, because it’s our first time too.

The younger child, and all the siblings after that, will never be the first to do most of the things, unless they choose different hobbies or sports. But as a rule, the eldest does things first.

As parent’s, by the time our second, third, fourth of fifth child get to the first sleep over, the first day of school, the first time riding their bike, etc, we have already experienced this as a parent with our first-born child. That’s not to say that we are less interested, less impressed, less proud. But what else is there to do when one child needs you more than the other?

It’s because we are less scared …

Parenting is scary. Parenting is hard. There’s a first time for everything, and the first time is always the most scary. And we mess up sometimes too – I Let Her Down, And I Didn’t Even Know!

That old saying, the first child is brought up, but the second child is dragged up, doesn’t mean we don’t care, love or see our other children. It’s that we’re still playing catch up with the eldest. We tend to have more faith in our other children that they can achieve whatever milestone it is, because the first-born blazed the trail in front, led the way.

I guess what I’m saying is the even when one child needs you more, it doesn’t mean we aren’t there for the other(s). Each child will eventually blaze their own trail through life. We just have to be there to support them in the way they need. And each child will need you in a different way.

This post is written from my own perspective on parenting two little girls. I’m not a perfect parent and I’m not a parenting expert. I’m a mommy blogger, blogging my life as a parent and the struggles I face in the modern world the way I see it. 

Shank You Very Much
DIY Daddy


  1. Couldn’t agree more. I find this with my two girls as well. My eldest is a very sensitive/emotional child – cries quickly, very in touch with her feelings where as the youngest is completely different in this regard. Our eldest daughter was born prematurely which meant that our parenting style was a bit more overprotective for the first year and as an only child for 3 years she got all the attention. Then the second one came along she was raised completely different – she just grew up so quickly. I love both my children dearly, I’ve embraced their differences and know that they both need me. All I can do is be there for them and support them #sabloggerscafe

  2. It sounds like your girls are so different. What I’m finding with my two is that they are more different than I expected. The same tactics do not work: And yes the second one is experiencing life differently. I’m enjoying getting to know their different sides. Iv also learnt from my mistakes with the first so I think second time around we are a bit more comfortable in my parenting journey (well for now, they are only 1 and 4, so a lot to come still)

  3. In some ways my eldest is similar in that her emotions tend to rule the roost. I’ve heard from other mom friends that their eldest do the same, if they are grumpy it sets the tone for the whole household. If she has sensory issues that just throws an extra complicating dimension into the mix. All four of mine are different and sometimes I have no idea whether I’m coming or going in knowing how best to rear them. Spend half my life praying and asking for wisdom that’s for sure!!

  4. Not easy … our eldest is only 17 months older than her younger brother. And there are issues: his talents are more obvious, as he is a terrific footballer, and lots of kudos ensue. She resents this but can’t own up to it. He, like your second child, knows her weaknesses and can get at her easily. She often sparks him off by being some rude to him, but would never admit that. #BlogCrush

  5. I found this post vastly relatable having two young girls myself. 5 and 2. As a Disabled Mum I rely heavily on my very eldest who is actually visually impaired to trouble shoot keeping her little whirlwind of a sister as co-operative as possible to get tasks done. Sometimes like you, like any human being! I snap when the eldest says or does something that in her mind was well meaning but totally back fires to current struggle with the youngest and I feel AWFUL later. When in fact my eldest needs more attention to help her navigate her world with her visual Impairment, which in the vast scheme of things is more important than preventing her younger sister from having a meltdown over ever little thing just because she’s 2! I see it all logically, I see where I’m going wrong but always AFTER the fact. Big hugs to you, at least we recognise and can therefore try to improve the balance #blogcrush

  6. I’m like you – come from a family with two girls and then had my own. I remember the moment my sister said to me, “I hate doing things your way, it always leaves me in your shadow…..” when she said this, I immediately made the decision that I wouldn’t treat my girls “equally” – and I didn’t want to label them due to their position in our family. Don’t get me wrong – I naturally categorize them in my mind and use that to explain their actions but I deliberately change my talk and expect them to achieve differently and respond differently too. It’s hard as heck! It’s like being a first time mom -twice…… I’d hate for either one to turn around one day and say I gave more or less attention to the one and not the other.
    I’ve found my second one to be more needy, but mainly because hers, is the personality that matches mine.
    You’re doing well! Being a parent that is involved and caring isn’t easy but I bet the rewards completely out weigh the hard morning battles and regretful words ?

  7. It is hard – that was how our celebration of the middle child started, as the other 2 had so many more things that took our time. When you can, you focus on the one who asks the least – but you are ever watchful they aren’t slipping thru the cracks. #globalblogging

  8. You are so right! We recently had our third girl and I’ve been feeling lately like I haven’t been paying enough attention to the two youngest. You would think it would be the other way around! #blogcrush

  9. Oh, I know just how you feel, it is so hard to equally split your attention and time between two kids and everything does feel scarier the first time around. I ask my eldest a lot to calm down so I can deal with my toddler or I feel guilty because the toddler needs me or want to play but I’m having to calm my older one down from a tantrum or something. You can only do your best though and whatever we do our kids always know we love them xx #BlogCrush

  10. The hardest thing for me is when I am trying to deal with one child that needs me, I can see another one is feeling rejected and becomes quiet… but… I just don’t have the time to deal with it at that particular moment. I think to myself “they’ll” be fine, I’ll give them a cuddle later… But will they really be fine, or have I in some way “damaged” them… So much to worry about! #globalblogging

  11. I can’t imagine it’s ever easy to juggle every single one of the needs of kids. I guess the best you can do is give everything you can with the best intentions and know they will love you for it! #GlobalBlogging

  12. I have five children and their needs are so different and one in particular is very needy emotionally too whereas the others are happy to go along in life Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

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