Is Your Child Jealous of the New Baby? Here’s How You Can Help
Spanish writer and playwright Enrique Jardiel Poncela once described jealousy as “the delirium of the instinct of property.” It’s only logical that children feel jealous of their new siblings: all the affection, kisses, hugs and praises are no longer exclusive, and the newcomer is suddenly receiving the lion’s share of the attention.
The psychologist and writer Bernabé Tierno says: “I remember that, during my childhood, someone told me in front of my parents, as a joke, ‘Who will love you now.’ And before I even had the chance to react, my father told me: ‘Your parents will love you as much as ever, son. Pay no mind to what this man says because he sometimes tries to be funny by saying dumb things.’ I don’t know If my father’s direct, firm and calming reaction made me immune to jealousy, but I never felt jealous of my siblings.”
The first thing I would like to stress is that parents should never allow anybody to tell their children that the arrival of a new sibling means they will be less loved.
My advice is that both parents shouldn’t focus their undivided attention simultaneously on the youngest sibling, and instead should try to make sure that neither sibling is left behind. If you are going to feed your little one, try to engage the oldest sibling by finding ways in which he can participate. You can ask him to try the baby food, have him help distract his younger sister while you feed her, etc.
Parents should never allow anybody to tell their children that the arrival of a new sibling means they will be less loved.
Each child requires a “personal dose” of attention. That’s why it’s never advisable for either sibling (particularly the older one) to witness the other sibling being exclusively pampered. You can counter this by telling your youngest, in a playful manner, that “we are now going to hug and kiss your older sibling, who loves you so much.” As you display affection to your oldest child, have your youngest child mimic you, which will result in the older sibling reciprocating the affection. This should be done repeatedly, so your older child understands that you love him equally and that his younger sibling loves him as well and is beginning to show it.