Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

Any time more than two humans are together for long, there will be politics. It doesn't matter if we're talking about government, churches, classrooms, or businesses, people will be vying for power and attention. In a way, sibling rivalry is a form of politics, and will always be there to some extent.
However, here's a story that may help to reduce rivalry between little kids. 
When my daughter was little I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but needed to earn some money, so I ran a family daycare home. Normally the children I taught were from almost-three to Kindergarten age, but once a neighbor had an emergency and I agreed to care for her infant for a few weeks. None of the children had ever acted jealous of each other before, but they all seemed jealous of the baby and I had no idea why. 
Finally an articulate little boy told me it was because I loved the baby more than I loved them. When I asked what gave him that idea he said it was because I was always hugging the baby. I explained that holding the baby wasn't the same as hugging and I had to hold the baby a lot because it couldn't eat or move from one place to another by itself. Immediately all signs of jealousy from any of the children disappeared.
Perhaps if parents explain that to the big brothers and sisters as soon as a new baby joins the family it will help reduce the sibling rivalry.


KDL said...

Since we added two children at once to our family it was a big adjustment for our oldest child. I recently spent some time with her explaining all of the things that she can do that the babies cannot and how they need so much help from Mommy. I also told her that it is hard for Mommy sometimes, too, that the babies need so much. It seems to have helped a lot.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks for your comment.

Sometimes people don't give little kids credit for being as smart as they are. They can understand many things if we take the time to explain them.

PaisleyPup said...

I wish this knowledge had been around when I was a toddler! It took months of therapy to uncover the anxiety and feelings of abandonment I experienced when my little sister was born (I was 16 months) and I was no longer the center of mom's attention! Hopefully the next generation will grow up happier and more secure with ideas like this.

Janet Ann Collins said...

I'm glad the post was helpful, even though a bit late. ;-)