It was like her heart skipped a heartbeat. When Shreya heard her son saying…
“Why is she here? I never wanted a sister!
I HATE her!”
Deep down she knew that it wasn’t true but these words just created a lump in her throat that she couldn’t sink in. She was hurt and started thinking about it. She observed that when he came and sat in her lap, she began to cry. When she gave him her toy, he ripped it. Everything was once only his alone. Now he has to share everything with her…which is…well…not going as per plan.
Did he really hate her little sister? Could he ever accept the fact that now he’s not the only kid in the house? Was it really jealousy?
Most of the siblings usually undergo this jealousy phase. Parents need to clear the fact that they love equally to all their children. Jealousy can be in various forms and stages. It might be possible that you’re dealing with the oh-so-normal jealousy of a brand-new big sibling who’s envious of the attention the new baby gets. Or perhaps you’re coping with a frustrated younger sibling who’s jealous that she can’t do everything her big brother does.
Either way, you’re going to handle them with love, patience and you have to make them feel that you’re totally aware what feeling they’re going through and it’s normal. The child might feel alone and the thought that his parents have a new baby to love might trigger their aggressiveness.
So, as a parent what must you do in order to make them feel that “yes, our parents love us equally and they understand our situation.”
In this blog, we are going to learn how parents can clear this “jealousy” misconception.
First, let’s understand why sibling jealousy occurs.
Okay, so try to see things from your child’s perspective. Your elder one was once your sole focus, but now he has to share your attention and love with another kid, that is, his sister. When kids are young they aren’t able to show or tell their feelings verbally. They give you signs like starting misbehaving, anger issues or yelling and you have to be smart enough to catch these signs and start acting upon it.
What can you do in order to overcome this?
- Avoid using Labels
We often have this habit of using certain labels while introducing our child to others. We put these labels intentionally or unintentionally, for example, “athlete one”, “wild one” and so on. When we are using such labels, we kind of increase competition amongst them. If you’re referring to your elder one as “the smart one”, then your younger one will definitely think that he’s not “smart enough”. By doing this we are dividing them and shelving them into a particular role. Whether you like it or not, you are comparing your both the children. They start having a competition with each other in order to get your approval.
However, you need to cheer on their positive attributes such as teamwork and kindness so that they get along with each other.
- Listen to them
You need to learn the language of listening. Listening can have a positive impact on your child to a greater extent. When they have to share your love and attention, they might feel insecure. You just have to talk to them, ask them to share every feeling or thought that they’re having right now. You have to make yourself ready to have a conversation that might include feelings like anger, hatred, envy etc.
Then you have to give them the assurance that from now onwards, you’d stay extra careful and they won’t feel left out again.
- Let them take charge
Give them some time to get along with each other. Miracles don’t happen in a day. They’ll fight, argue or maybe don’t wanna see each other’s face, but you have to give them some time. Your elder one used to have everything on his own, he has all your time, but now, since there’s another kid in the house, it’s quite difficult for him to adjust. It’s your patience test and you have to tell them that he has a huge responsibility for his little sister. Try to indulge him with you in little activities like cleaning her toys, making her bed, feeding her food etc. by doing these activities, you’re bonding with your son and gradually making him responsible.
Take baby steps and you’ll see the change.
- Be a peacemaker
When kids were fighting, then they definitely came to you, for a judgement. It’s like a dilemma for you, as you’re supposed to take sides (never take sides!). And you are very well aware of the fact that this will encourage “favouritism”. So, you simply gave time out to both of them.
However, standing facing the wall doesn’t really make them realise their mistakes. To teach kids the conflict resolution skills, you need to teach them several things:
- Teach them to be more courteous with each other. It’s important for them to learn to say thank you, please, sorry. They are not supposed to throw tantrums or can’t force each other to play a specific game. Instead, they must talk to each other in a very polite way.
- Teach them to control their temper. They need to learn that they are not supposed to walk away when you’re talking. Both of them have to listen to you and at the end say sorry to each other.
- Ask them to resolve their conflicts on their own. Give them some time to think and if they can’t come up with any, then give some suggestions yourself and teach them to make agreements.
- As we have discussed above also, parents must not pass any kind of verdict when kids come to them to resolve their fight. When you pass any judgement about who’s right, kids will straight away think that my parents are being partial. Parents are allowed to intervene only when things will get intense. When you pass a judgement, you’re showing your perspective and perspectives are never right. If things are not in their favour, then this will have the worst impact on their mind. They won’t be able to understand as they are not in the right position to think.
Parents should tell their child that “This is not the way you should act.” Then talk to them separately that they’re siblings and siblings got each other’s back no matter what. They always stick together and support each other.
- Teach them that they’re bonded!
You need to teach them the meaning of a sibling and how it is the most beautiful relation one can ever have. No matter how he said that he hates her sister, but deep down he really loves her and you need to make him realise that. You can help him to realize this by letting him sing a song or lullabies for her, read her a book or any other activity from which he can realize that he truly loves her.
These are certain methods which you can try in order to reduce the sibling’s rivalry. They just need to recognise the fact that deep down, they both love each other but pretends to hate.
You need to be very patient while handling them as the situation might get worse and trust me this is least you want!
Parenting is a beautiful journey and at every phase, it has its own challenges, that you’re gonna ace! Happy parenting.