Our son has zero interest in his baby sister, and sometimes pushes her out of the way.
I have a 3.5 year old son and a 10 month old daughter. My son has never shown a great deal of interest in my daughter and has been pretty passively antagonistic towards her (for example if he notices her being interested in watching him play he will turn his back to her or casually go into the other room with his toy to
continue playing.). We usually don't say anything and figure once she's more mobile and interesting to play with he'll come around. Meanwhile my daughter adores her big brother and does everything she can to bestow her best smiles and laughs on him. It's just heartbreaking to see him so uninterested.
Lately, as she's become an active crawler and started cruising, he has actually pushed her out of the way if she comes over to hug/gum/generally maul him. We've explained to him his role as a big brother, encouraged him when he's been sweet to her and reprimanded him when he's not. Nothing seems to work.
Ironically, I am pregnant with another and he has shown interest in the baby in my tummy, asking what he looks like now, rubbing my belly, etc. Any suggestions how I can foster a better relationship with these two? I appreciate all of the sage advice of the PSP community.
J., mom to otherwise lovely 3.5 year old S., 10 month old C.,
and C., expected arrival in July.
I am really sensitive to the sibling rivalry thing because my sister still has so many jealousy issues and I wanted my kids to have a better relationship so I started looking for resources while pregnant. The best one I found is an awesome book called Siblings without Rivalry. Highly recommend it. If you practice the techniques she gives you, it really alters the relationship. My daughter went from hitting and pinching to kisses and hugs in about 3 months. I was really stunned it worked but it does!
Best, J., E. & L.
I haven't myself read books like "Siblings Without Rivalry," but I assume that
and other books would be quite useful. From the reviews I just read it sounds
like they have wise and practical tips on how to treat your children "uniquely,
Here are some of the things I have found to be helpful to keep in mind in
thinking about my own and other sibling's relationships with each other, which
may or may not be included in those books.
1. Your children are closer to and feel safer with each other than perhaps
anyone else. This means they have more feelings around each other as well,
which they often will target each other with. Which means that the behavior
that looks like lack of interest from your son to your daughter is probably his
acting out at her what he feels elsewhere.
2. When there's a new sibling in the house, moms and dads relationship changes
with the first child. This often feels like a big loss to the elder siblings.
3. It makes a big difference to everyone if all parents carve out some
one-on-one time with each of their children where the child calls the shots on
what happens in that time. No phone calls for the parent or other distractions.
In my house it meant no music of my own choosing. We tried for an hour once a
week with each of our children, but didn't always pull it off. I tried as often
as possible to spend this hour with my children when I picked them up from
school since the distractions in my own home were too difficult for me to
ignore. I often used a babysitter with my other child when I spent this time
with my other child, but I know some co-parents who spend this time with their
kids at the same time in separate rooms or separate places. Once you have more
than two children, unless you have 3 or more parents, that would be out..... I
know one mother of twins who hired a babysitter once a week and alternated which
daughter she spent time with.
4. To find ways to listen to each child on their feelings about the other out
of earshot of the other. "I hate him!" "She's boring and always gets her own
way!" Any you as parent get to acknowledge their feelings and not argue with or
talk them out of them. Really hard!
5. If you're a mom parenting with a man, encourage him to spend time alone with
each child also on a regular basis and not be critical of either sibling for
their feelings toward the other. It's hard not to take sides, especially given
our own genders and sibling order, but I know it's possible!
My children had some very tough years with each other, but they're now really
good friends, and it looks like that's for keeps.
Best to all,
mom to 27 year old daughter and 21 year old son
Empathy? I mean empathy on his part. (I've read some on sibling rivalry, but
this one is mine, so it's not exactly a studied answer.) My daughter is now 3
yrs 3 months and my son 8 months (so same age difference and approximate age as
I have been lucky so far in that for the most part, my daughter has very good
with my son (so I recognize that's a huge help from the start). On the several
occassions when she hasn’t been, eg - she has taken toys away from him so that
she could play with them - I stopped her and got right down on the floor right
close to her so that it became a serious conversation (not just me talking to
her from a distance) and asked her how she would feel if I took her toy away -
not in a scolding way, just expressing it in a way that I really was interested
in the answer. And I probed it a bit with her so that, again, it wouldn't be a
passing question/comment. It seems to have worked so far. I have also talked
to her some about what she was like as a baby. She’s very interested in these
stories. I figure it may help create empathy - the idea that she was there once
too. (And I think she does get that.)
I have stayed away from talking to her about playing the role as big sister.
Somehow, casting her in that role - doesn't seem like it would go over well.
D., mom to N. 3 yrs 3 months and S. 8 months