Sibling Jealousy

5 May

It was always an inevitability. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that it has taken so long to surface, but my biggest little man has finally succumb to jealousy over his little brother.

It’s a shame, as the bub adores him. You can see it written all over his face when his big brother enters the room: the glint in the eye, the excited screeching, arms waving wildly. And I know that the big little man adores him too.

But the novelty of having a baby to smother has worn off, and as our “little boo” becomes mobile and verbally demanding, the side effects are proving challenging for number 1 son.

Requests to move big boy toys off the floor and onto higher surfaces have grated.

The increased attention we must pay the little one as he tentatively attempts to shimmy along furniture before plummeting backwards to the floor are stinging.

And the endless conveyor belt of bottle and meal making, nappy changes and other such chores are proving too much for him to bear.

So after a short period of oh so welcome “calm” in my 5 year old’s behaviour, we have now to deal with a new period of turmoil.

Over the past few weeks I have seen his jealousy build.

Beginning as just the occasional over-rough handling of his brother, or attempts to sabotage any 1:1 interactions between the baby and his dad by quite literally throwing himself at daddy and hanging on like a limpet until any meaningful play with the little one becomes impossible. This jealousy is now manifesting as constant attention seeking, arguing over EVERYTHING… “I don’t want to wear a white t-shirt, I want to wear a Tom and Jerry one” (hands over Tom and Jerry t-shirt)…. “NOOO! I don’t want that one, I have to wear the white one”, ear shattering tantrums and occasional physical aggression.

And after weeks of biting my tongue, I finally lost my temper when the big brother purposefully woke the baby up from his nap an hour early by staging a screaming tantrum of increasing volume despite several desperate pleas to be quiet.

I feel shitty about it, because I totally understand why he’s jealous. As much as we try to make him feel secure and loved, his world has changed hugely and he can no longer have our undivided, 24/7 attention, and this baby is now seriously encroaching on his territory.

But I can’t be ruled by guilt. He has to work through this emotion, and we have to help him. So after consulting my “Coping With Two” bible, I sat him down and spoke to him. I explained that whilst I understand why he feels upset, he cannot behave how he did and that he must use his words where possible. We will of course do our best to give him equal attention and priority, but sometimes he may have to wait, and we promise to play with him as soon as it is possible.

He took it well, and so far, since that conversation he has acted impeccably. Asking if we can play with him after we have finished changing a nappy or feeding a bottle. I’m not sure how long it will last and I’m sure there will be many more bumps in the road, but I’ll do my best to summon some patience from deep within my reserves and help him through this latest challenge.

And if you have been through this yourself, I welcome any tips, virtual hand holding or knowing nods of support.

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4 Responses to “Sibling Jealousy”

  1. billumbillmex2014 May 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    Been there, done that but no idea how we got through it. Hope it turns out as well for you as it did for us or preferably, even better! 🙂

  2. journeyformybaby May 6, 2015 at 1:16 am #

    Going through a touch of this right now. Mostly Tru still adores baby bro but I have caught him having his moments. And definitely attention seeking tantrums ….

  3. Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) May 8, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    Awww bless. I am so sorry that I dont have any tips to share but I think what you did in this situation is right. Talking to him is the best way I know to make him known that he is love. #pocolo

  4. Jenny May 10, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

    I’m glad to hear it’s not just my child who acts like this! His little brother loves him, but he can be very jealous. Thank you for sharing as I was starting to think that all other siblings are so caring and loving to their baby siblings, when my 3 year old generally is not! Like you I understand why and try to give them both attention, but it’s getting more difficult now that ‘baby’ has become a demanding toddler too! Xx

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