“Mom, you don’t love me!” – What to do when children get jealous?
Child’s jealousy is an inevitable phenomenon. Almost all of the families face the challenge of the distribution of attention and love between two or more children.
Jealousy from the eldest kid to the youngest is normal. The youngest understands nothing yet. But the nascence of the baby is the collapse for the older child: previously he (she) was the only one but now he has to share parents with someone else.
The child thinks that parents don’t love him anymore: children have a different picture of the world and perception of it. The baby doesn’t understand that it is a brother or sister. In his/her eyes here’s the situation: the mother brought a new child and now all attention belongs to him.
It’s easy to recognize small jealousy because children don’t know how to hide their emotions.
The typical manifestations of baby jealousy are
- The older kid offends the younger brother or sister: pinch, bit, pull on the hair, etc.
- Firstborn take away the toys.
- Vagaries and bad behavior.
- The child forbids mom or dad to go into the room where the baby sleeps.
- Son\daughter is closed and uncommunicative or conversely too active.
- “Regression” – the child starts to behave like a younger boy or girl than he (she) actually isn’t. The child thinks that in this way he can get parental attention back.
- He/she often asks to lie down in a pram to the youngest, asks to swing or breastfeed him/her, or give him/her a nipple or a pot. In this case, just give him\her what he/she asks – the child will try all of these things and understand that he/she doesn’t need it anymore and will calm down.
- The baby is literally “sticking” to Mom, uses all available methods, including physical contact and crying.
- There may be various psychosomatic phenomena: sleep and appetite disorders, frequent colds (in severe cases).
An easy way to fix the situation is to pay more attention and time to the elder son or daughter.
The youngest baby needs to be fed, dressed and sleepy during the first few months.
Just holding your baby in your arms, and a smile is enough to make him happy.
Try to spend time with the older child as often as possible: play, talk, walk, and do not ignore their requests. Only through love, you can fight jealousy.
Tell your child: “I love you more than anyone else in this world, as well as (name of a second child). You’re my dearest, as well as…” And do it as often as possible: the child should get used to this model.
The same sex and a small difference in age (2-3 years) increase the probability of jealousy and competition for the mother’s attention. However, how strong jealousy will depend on the sensitivity of parents, their ability to show the eldest that it is still desirable and necessary for them. Childhood jealousy tends to disappear when the child receives a certain “portion” of parental attention.
A child can overgrow that feeling over time. It doesn’t matter if he was the only child in the family or not. What matters is whether the parent’s love has given him enough, care, and attention and how independent and self-sufficient he or she has grown.
Is it possible to avoid the problems associated with child jealousy? Definitively – no. But we can do much to minimize this feeling.
The main thing is to ingratiate the child to a brother or sister in advance. We must prepare him/her.
Some pieces of advice that isn’t difficult to put into practice
- It would be better if your children will have a significant difference in age. And that’s why:
- The child in the age of 4-5 years old is already interested in many other things and is more independent;
- Your kid can already do a lot of things on their own: eat, dress, etc.
- His or her interests are already different from the youngest child so there will be less competition;
- He/she is already big enough to understand your explanation when you tell him/her that you will have a new child.
- Don’t hide the truth, prepare your son/daughter to meet with his\her brother\sister correctly. The child expects to see the same boy\girl and feels cheated when you show a very small human.
- Warn your baby that you should go to the hospital, otherwise it will feel rejected and abandoned. Explain that you did the same thing when he\she was born;
- Keep in touch with him from the hospital – call him on the phone.
- Your husband should pay more attention to the child in your absence.
- Your homecoming shouldn’t be entirely devoted to your firstborn. The older child is waiting for you, not the newborn.
- First, you should keep your children separately, preferably in different rooms.
- Try to draw the attention of friends and family to the older son.
It would be interesting to know about two other kinds of toddler jealousy. But that has nothing to do with a younger brother or sister.
The first, it’s the so-called “Oedipus complex”.
It appears in the boy’s behavior. The whole point of it is sexual attraction to the mother and jealousy of the father. The father (despite the gentle feelings for him) becomes a rival in the fight for the mother. A negative Oedipus complex is also possible when a boy is “in love” with his father and hates his mother.
Small girls can have an “Electra complex”. Girls have a sexual attraction for the father and jealousy for the mother, who is considered as a rival. This complex can be positive, negative, and mixed as in the situation with boys.
Don’t despair, no one has ever been able to avoid all the problems that arise between siblings. If anyone claims to have been able to smooth things over, it’s a lie.
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