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Preschooler/Baby Sibling Relationships
I'm posting this question for my cousin, who is now dealing with nightly battles with her almost-4-year-old. Her little girl wants to sleep in her parents' bed now that her new (nursing) sister is allowed to. Apparently she's always loved her own bed and has never expressed a desire to sleep with her parents before. They have tried the group family sleeping arrangement and it's not working out. I did see some books recommended in the archives on preparing a sibling for a new baby, but I didn't see any specific advice from anyone who has dealt with a similar problem to this one. Does anyone have any tips or encouragment? How can my cousin make this transition easier for her little girl? Thanks for your help. Theresa
Oh, I am at my wits end over here and need help! My daughter, who will be three in April, absolutely does not like her 7 month-old brother. She was never excited about having a baby brother in the first place, and things have not changed since he was born. I thought that perhaps once he grew up a little and went from a crying infant to more of a person, she would change her mind, but so far, nothing. He is siting up, and is starting to crawl, but this has not changed her feelings towards him one bit.
She thinks he is loud and weird, and I'm sure he is, to her.
We have read ''Siblings Without Rivalry'' and try to follow their advice; we have never tried to force any kind of sibling relationship on our daughter. We let her have her feelings and remain neutral about her comments (for example, if she says, ''I don't want him to touch me!'' we might say, ''Okay, you don't want him to touch you.'' Or if she says, ''He can't play with the blocks!'' we say, ''Those blocks belong to the family. If you would like to go into your own room and play with your toys, you can. However, if you want to play with the blocks, you need to share with your brother.'')
The baby is so happy and is usually in a good mood. It just is so hard to see her visibly recoil from him. Lately, a friend remarked that it seemed like a lot of effort for her to ignore him as much as she does...more effort than just talking to him or even looking in his direction.
More info: our daughter is in preschool 5 mornings a week, and really enjoys it. I pick her up after lunch and right before her nap, then the three of us spend the afternoons together.
What should I do differently? Will this change? I need perspective and suggestions. I had such a great friendship with my brother, and this just breaks my heart. Thanks so much.
--At my wits end
When the babay was 18 months, they started playing together and now play very well about 85 percent of the time. Sure, they still fight, but on the whole I am so glad to have both of them. They are both boys and share a room (and all the toys in it). mom of 2
My 3.5 yr old son was jealous of his little sister before she even arrived. He finally decided to let go of it a few months ago (he's now 15). It's been awful for her her whole life to have a mean, teasing older brother, especially since she was predisposed to adore him. I give a lot of credit to a family counselor who suggested last year that he was in a great position to be a mentor to her on social and school stuff-- which gave him a different picture of himself behaving towards her, now that she's a tween. He doesn't do it much, but anything's an improvement.
Of course, now that we don't have to intervene in his mean teasing, we're dealing with her unpleasant coping behaviors that have become habits.
I've been on both sides of this, since my older brother was jealous of me from day one and constantly took it out on me until we were adult, while I had a marvelous closeness with my younger brother. I've decided it's a temperament thing. Some older sibs are nurturing, some are not. Good luck. anonymous
I think that the hardest part about having a second child is the loss of intimacy with the first.
So, pay as much attention to her as you can. Assure her a lot. My older one still has a bit of ''he gets to be with you'' but they are best friends and play really well unless they are tired.
You are doing really well. It gets easier and better between them when they can talk. And try to have as much one on one time as you can with #1. And ditch 'em once and a while and get a pedicure or massage for you. just going alone for groceries is a luxury at this point!
Wishing you well
I would really appreciate some advice about what to do with older
sibling (3 years old) who ''hates'' younger brother (4 months old).
She is constantly saying that she wants him to go away or that
she wants to move far away. She's been hostile toward us and him
especially when he's getting any kind of attention. We really
feel that we're understanding and compassionate parents who give
her equal time with both of us (grandparents help out quite a
bit), but no matter what we do she is still angry. We feel bad
for her, her brother and us. Any suggestions? Books we should
read? Thanks so much!! (By the way, I looked for archived
advice on this issue thinking I would find tons, but couldn't
find any, maybe the moderator can direct me)
My four year old son has been exhibiting intentionally difficult
and provocative behavior in the past few weeks. He became a big
brother for the first time about 3 months ago. His behavior at
first was surprisingly good. In the past few weeks, however,
his behavior has become increasingly negative and unmanagable.
He purposefully scratches, hits and squeezes the baby whenever
he can, slaps me, tries to ram the baby's bottle into his mouth,
and jumps on the sofa next to me and pushes the baby's head
while I'm trying to breastfeed. When the baby's sleeping, he
intentionally slams the doors as loudly as he can to wake the
baby up. He also screams constantly -- sometimes because he's
having a meltdown, but often just for fun. Today he came home
from preschool, walked over to the coffee table and
intentionally threw all the books and magazines onto the floor.
Later he threw yogurt all over the kitchen walls and my
computer ''just for fun''. He sasses me and tells me repeatedly
that he hates me. Sometimes he says this in a teasing voice and
other times in a serious or hurtful tone. If I tell him ''no''
about anything, he says I don't love him anymore. He's in a
generally negative mood and doesn't want to do anything; e.g.,
doesn't want to go to school, doesn't want to go to gymnastics
class, doesn't want to have a playdate. My son always exhibited
some difficult behavior, but nothing like what we've seen in the
past few weeks. This behavior has been very disruptive for the
whole family -- the baby is having trouble eating and sleeping,
and my husband and I are worried sick about what to do. I have
tried to implement the tools I read about introducing children
to new siblings -- e.g., prepare the child several months in
advance, read lots of books on the subject, acknowledge his
feelings of jealousy, try to make one-on-one time for him, go
out of the way to make his feel special, etc.-- but these
approaches don't seem to be working. My husband and I are
starting to see a family therapist about these issues. After
listening to what's going on with my son, the therapist said he
is angry, exhibits a lack of self-control and the family needs
to be in long-term therapy to figure out how we got into this
situation. I wonder, however, if my son's behavior is just
normal sibling jealousy. If so, how long should I expect this to
go on and how did you deal with it? Thanks for any input.
Exhausted and concerned mom
To me there is only one obvious cure: Both you and your husband
need to take turns spending scheduled 1:1 quality time with
your 4-year old alone without the baby and outside the house,
if possible. By now you may lost some desire to be with him,
because of his bad behavior. If you schedule a firm 30 minutes
each day with your child that he can count on no matter what, I
bet you'll see a positive change within the first week. During
these 30 minutes you do exactly what your child wants to do
(i.e. play along with his toys/games)and nothing else. Do not
try to get something done for the house at the same time. This
is about undivided attention, not multi-tasking. Kids very well
feel the difference. (It's very helpful to have a good
selection of appealing arts & crafts activities and board games
on hand. Between the ages 4-7, of course, you let your child go
first and let him win. Older than 7, they don't mind lo! sing a
few.). If we should spend 30 minutes daily listening to our
spouses (and they to us) to keep our marriages alive and well,
I'm very sure our kids need and deserve the same. Instead of
taking more private time away from your child and giving it to
a therapist, I'd try giving the time to the child first and see
if things improve that way.
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