How to manage jealousy between siblings?

Jealousy between siblings is often unavoidable, because it can be difficult for children to understand and process their emotions, especially when there are changes in their daily lives. However, there are ways to deal with these feelings and help children manage them effectively to achieve a healthy coexistence.

The arrival of a new baby in the family is usually a very happy event. Parents, uncles and grandparents are waiting for the birth of the little one and counting the days to meet him. However, there are little people who, on many occasions, do not usually share the happiness of the rest for the new baby. These are the siblings, especially those who are between the ages of 2 and 5, approximately.

It’s hard to share attention when you’re used to having it exclusively, and while older siblings aren’t as jealous when there’s a significant age difference, younger siblings might have a harder time dealing with their emotions.

Childhood jealousy is quite common, so don’t be alarmed. However, parents need to know how to manage jealousy so that children are more receptive to their younger siblings when they are born, and even as they grow. For this, first of all, you have to understand where these feelings come from and empathize with children , who do not have the emotional maturity to analyze things as an adult would.

Why does this feeling occur in children?

Although jealousy, most of the time, occurs when a new baby arrives in the family, you need to know that this is not always the case.

When a child begins to feel jealous of his brother, regardless of his age, it is because a change has occurred between them or in the way others interact with them. For that reason, it is always good to pay attention to the attitudes of the little ones and recognize the small changes that may occur in their way of acting.

If it is a new baby, the psychological process of jealous children is as follows: “I have been replaced . ” The baby is now the center of attention, gets more care and has taken the place that, before her arrival, belonged to the older brother.

However, if jealousy occurs later, the child may feel displaced for other reasons. For example, the fact that one brother gets better school grades than the other and is constantly being compared can cause these types of feelings and even self-esteem problems. In fact, even if such comparisons do not exist, the child may feel less than his brother when he cannot do something in the same way.

It is the job of the parents, then, to work on eliminating these feelings effectively, but always from understanding and never with reproaches . This can be difficult seeing the child’s tantrums, aggressiveness, regression of skills, and other symptoms; however, parents must remain focused on achieving change in the most manageable way for the well-being of their children.

How to remove jealousy?

By understanding the little ones, it will be easier to help them overcome this stage, keeping in mind certain keys that the great pedagogue María Montessori has left to know how to combat jealousy between siblings.

  1. Never make comparisons with your children

Even if they share the same genes and even if they are twins, children should never be compared. We are all different, but just as special.

Never compare children, positively or negatively, as you could end up affecting their self-esteem. Don’t let others do it either. This will prevent the little ones from seeing each other as rivals.

  1. be realistic

The excitement of the arrival of the new baby can make us enter a world of fantasy, talking about how much better the world will be when the little one is in your arms, for example. This can make the child wonder why it wasn’t so great when it was just him, which can certainly bring up insecurities.

Present the situation to the child realistically, without creating false expectations. Use language that he can easily understand and encourage him to ask as many questions as he wants. In the same way, be just as realistic and reassure him of his value and importance to him as a person. 

  1. Find ways for siblings to share

Siblings can be the best of friends, regardless of age; and a good way to help them grow in their relationship as siblings is to give them the opportunity to share and always count on the other.

Something as simple as encouraging them to play together, reading a book to both of them before bed, offering them chores to do together, etc. These types of activities to work on jealousy in children can be effective in improving the relationship.

  1. Let them be independent

Although it is positive to encourage them to do things together, siblings should always have the opportunity to enjoy a space alone, or an activity independently, for example.

The little ones must always have freedom of action, without requiring the constant company of their brother.

  1. Involve older siblings from the start

Jealousy of a brother older than 4 years or of any age can be generated from the first moment they know that a baby is on the way. Therefore, it is worth keeping no secrets from them and immediately involve them in the life of the little brother.

Talk about pregnancy, the months to wait for the baby’s arrival, what the role of each family member will be and, if possible, give small responsibilities to the little ones so that they see everything naturally. For example, choosing the baby ‘s car seat, talking to mom’s tummy from time to time, or whatever comes to mind without it being seen as an obligation.

  1. Dealing with children who attract attention

When a child does things to get attention, it is because he wants to be noticed. Therefore, instead of scolding him and leaving him aside, give him the attention he asks for and explain that it is not necessary to do things to get attention, because his parents love him and are aware of everything he needs.

Reflect on why he might have needed to draw attention and try to involve him more to prevent this from happening again.

These are the recommendations of the Montessori method which, since its appearance, have helped many parents deal with jealousy between siblings and improve the relationship between children. Always remember to put yourself in the little one’s shoes and resolve conflicts from empathy, understanding and love. In this way it will always be easier to solve this type of rivalry.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *