Childish jealousy of the younger brother or sister - how to deal with it?

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Imagine this: your partner brings home another woman and says to you: "Honey, I love you as much as ever, but from now on this woman will live with us. By the way, a lot of my time and attention will be devoted to her, because I am absolutely crazy about her, and she is more helpless than you and needs me more. Isn't it wonderful? Are you happy?". How would you feel?

I have been told of a child who ran to the door when the nurse was leaving after his home visit and yelled, "You forgot to take the baby!".

The sense of rivalry is often very strong in the first-born because he was always the center of attention and never had a rival. The later born child has already learned to share with others the love and attention of his parents. It realizes that it is just one of the children. This does not mean that the second and third children do not feel jealous of the next child. On the contrary! But it depends more on how the parents will handle the situation than whether the child is a firstborn or not.

Jealousy can be both helpful and painful…
Jealousy is a strong emotion even in adults. She is even more disturbing to the toddler because he doesn't know how to deal with her. While it is not possible to completely avoid jealousy, you can do a lot to minimize it and even turn it into a pleasant emotion.
If your child learns that there is no reason to be so afraid of a rival, it will temper his character and he will be much better able to deal with rivals later in life, at work, at home. The important thing in this case is not that the child feels jealous, which is completely normal, but the way in which he deals with this feeling. If he puts his feelings into words, it will help him to control them. You can tell him, "I know you're angry and jealous, but it won't help you if you hurt the baby." You can add, “I love you too. I love you and the baby”.

If your child has hit the baby, you can take his hand and move it with a flattering gesture saying, "Baby loves you." An older child's feelings are very confused at any age. Help him show his love most of all.

The first weeks and months
This is the time when tactful parents can also help. Do not pay special attention to the newborn in the first weeks. Don't get too excited about it and don't talk too much about it.

Grandparents who fuss too much around the newborn can also cause problems. If the older child meets his grandfather in the hallway, carrying a huge package with a ribbon, who asks him: "Where is your sweet little sister?" I bought her a present", the child's joy at meeting his grandfather turns into bitterness.

A very young child's jealousy is strongest when he watches his mother feed the baby, especially if she is breastfeeding. If he's around while you're nursing, you should let him in. But if he's playing in the other room, don't draw his attention to what's going on.

The goal is not to completely avoid the feeling of rivalry - that is impossible, but to minimize it in the first weeks, until the older child gets used to the frightening new reality.

Excerpt from Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock, Dr. Robert Needleman

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