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OPINION: "Parents are now throwing 'sibling parties'. And they speak volumes about modern parenting."

When I first heard about the ‘sibling party’ mum-to-be Fifi Box threw for her daughter, Trixie, I rolled my eyes. Hard.

A ‘sibling party’, I have found out, is a party thrown for an older sibling to make them feel better about getting a new baby brother or sister.

Yep. Because all kids need it reinforced with cake and balloons (when it isn’t even their goddamn birthday) that they are the most important person in the world.

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As a millennial, I’ll be the first to admit that my resilience is somewhat… lacking. That’s putting it mildly. I can’t handle criticism (which obviously makes writing things on the internet a fabulous career choice), to the extent that when I get my grades back for university assignments, I don’t open it to read the comments which would probably help me on my next assignment.

I don’t take any responsibility – also a millennial thing – for being this way. You see, not only am I a victim of the everyone-gets-an-award culture, I’m also the youngest of three kids and pretty spoiled. Growing up, my older brother’s birthday, which is two days before my own, was also when I received my gifts because I just couldn’t deal with the jealousy I felt seeing him get presents and not me (and my mum evidently didn’t want to deal with my jealousy either.)

I know you probably hate me by this point. I get it. I really do. But the good news is, I’m doing my utmost to raise my own kids to be at least a little bit hardier than I am. In houseplant terms, I’m the fiddle leaf fig that dies because you watered it on Saturday afternoon instead of Saturday morning, but I’m aiming for my kids to be more like desert cacti. So when I heard that parents are throwing ‘sibling parties’ for their kids, I was pretty horrified.

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After clarifying what the hell a sibling party even is, I asked the people around me what they thought, and the general consensus was that it’s everything that’s wrong with modern parenting. Children are wonderful and should be celebrated, but they should be celebrated for the things they do, not just things that happen to most people at some point – like becoming a brother or sister.

I’m not criticising parents who have done this, but I am critical of the culture that makes them feel like they should (as though parents need anything else to feel guilty about). Change is hard for everyone, especially children, and preparing them gently for a big one is great. Talk to your child about what it means to be a big brother or sister, and how much fun it will be. Talk to them about the fact Mummy will be in the hospital for a few days so they can get used to the idea. Prepare them for the fact that they are going to need to learn to share – their toys, their time, and their parents.

Don’t make it a huge deal though, because it’s just… not. Change is uncomfortable, but it’s a part of life. The sooner kids learn this (and they will soon learn that it isn’t the end of the world), the better they will be able to deal with all the other changes and challenges life throws at them.

Because most of life’s changes don’t come with cake and sprinkles either.

“You get what you get and you don’t get upset” is a common refrain in our house, and I highly recommend making it a part of your vocabulary too. Your kids’ future teachers and employees will thank you.

Tags: features , kids , parties , pregnancy
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