If you’ve more than one child, then you know there are many trouble spots as they grow. Most siblings get on quite well, considering they didn’t choose each other in the first place! But, as with all relationships, they’ll have their ups and downs, which will often affect the whole family. We give you some problem-sharing ideas.
Jealous of the new baby
*Involve your child in preparations for the baby and explain in advance what will happen-the noise, changes in routine, maybe the baby receiving presents.
*Plan time each day to devote solely to her, perhaps when the baby is more likely to be sleeping. If you’re interrupted, promise you’ll make up the time later-and ensure sure you do.
Damaging each other’s toys
*Don’t get angry when this happens: there’s usually a reason. Instead, express your disappointment, but avoid implying that the culprit is ‘bad.’ If she can manage it, ask her to help with repairs.
*It’s often a sign that the offender feels the other is having too much attention or too many treats. At a calmer moment, give extra attention without referring to the incident.
*Try to stay calm; don’t shout, smack or attempt to offer bribes.
*Go for some immediate distraction-’Who wants to have a story/play a game etc?’ If this fails, either separate them for a while or-better still-exhaust them with a walk to the park.
*When things are calmer, make sure you talk about why fighting is a shame, and how you can have more fun playing together.
Wanting to be equal
*Explain that as children grow up, they gain privileges with age-it’s the same for everyone. It often seems harder for the younger child, but it’s a handy lesson to be learned in life.
*If your older child often reverts to babyish behaviour, don’t be cross. It may be an experiment to see what it’s like, an attempt to check whether you love her more that way, or simply a device to get the little one’s attention for herself.
*Don’t panic if one accuses you of preferring the other-it’s usually an expression of jealousy and a request for reassurance. You can calmly say it’s not true, and begin a short campaign of subtle extra attention for the child who is concerned.
*It’s not favouritsm to give those carefully controlled extra allowances to your first-born. If you stress that it’s simply to do with their ages, not their personalities, both will eventually a accept it.