Tag Archives: siblings

When a child is overtaken by a younger sibling

As soon as I came in from work today, my daughter grabbed my hand and led me to the kitchen where the Husband was cooking tea.

‘Mummy and Daddy, I have something very important to tell you! I did reading in school today and my teacher moved me up TWO reading stages! She said I was a reading superstar!’

This is such lovely news for my daughter, who has developed a real love of reading over the  last few months, and who has been trying very hard with her books, and at school generally. I’m so proud of her, and so happy to see her so proud of herself – she really deserves it.

I just wish my delight for her wasn’t tempered with the worry for what this will mean for my biggest boy’s confidence – because she’s basically leapfrogged him. He’s been stuck on the same reading stage since June, despite doing a huge amount of reading over the Summer holidays, and now he’s a stage behind his younger sister – who is two years below him at school. Seeing his face crumple as she bounced around the kitchen was just heartbreaking. All the more so because although she has worked hard, he has without doubt put a lot more time into practising his reading.

We’ve obviously had a family chat this evening about how some people are good at some things, and some at others, and that’s the way things should be because we can’t have a world filled with engineers but nobody to be a pilot, or super duper rugby players but nobody to be a teacher, etc etc. But despite a wobbly brave face from him after the initial shock, it’s just another confidence knock on top of the many he’s already taken since starting this school year.

As well as being gutted for him, I’m feeling particularly let down because I raised this specific scenario with school a couple of months ago, knowing that it was a probability in the near future and knowing what it would do to his confidence. I asked for extra Welsh reading books that my son and I could read together and was told that we could not have them because ‘if you get extra books, everyone else might want one too’. Really? REALLY? Instead it was suggested that I could get Welsh books from the library for him, which would be great if a) the library had a decent selection of Welsh books, which it doesn’t, and b) Welsh wasn’t my second language by a long chalk, making it fairly difficult for me to pick up a reading book and gauge whether it’s at the right level, or likely to be of interest for an eight year old reluctant reader. Which is why I’d wanted reading books from school rather than sourcing them myself in the first place.

So. A mixture of emotions. Chuffed for my girl, gutted for my biggest boy, and frankly pissed off that even though I could see this coming and asked for help, there was no support to even try and stave it off.

Parenting is hard, sometimes.