Working with children and being in the process of raising some with my wife has shown me that what each child needs is to feel support. This is especially true for younger siblings. It is never easy being in the shadow of your older sibling and not being just like them. I don’t know why so many of us make younger siblings lives harder by the constant comparison. it may be that getting to know each child as unique is HARD work that requires time, listening skills, and patience. Did I mention that it requires time? That is something that many of us want more of and few of us have found.
The real empowering comes from letting each child know that their voice is important. It does matter that what they learned that day in school, even if their older sibling wants to monopolize the conversation since they are further along in the educational journey.
One of the practices that we have in our home is asking each person around the table to share two highs and two lows of the day (which someone else created, but sadly I don’t know who so consider this me giving you credit). The important part is make sure that each person gets a chance, that the same person does not start every night, and that someone does not interrupt while the other is talking. This accomplishes two things. Keeps them from sharing all the negative stuff in their life and it gives us parents extra time at the table so that we can finish our meal with everyone still sitting at the table.