July 22, 2008,
N.S. asks from Hartsville, SC on July 21, 2008
Jealousy Issues with 3 Year Old of Little Sister
I have 2 daughters. The oldest is 3 1/2 and the youngest is 14 months. The oldest is so jealous of her little sister. She will hit her with toys or if someone gives her something, she has to have one and if there isn't another one, she will take it. When she gets mad she will hit and kick both of us. She has to be the center of attention. We try to divide it up but as you all know it is hard. She is acting out so bad. She will be good at daycare but as soon as she gets home, she is awful. Me and my fiance have no idea what to do. Any ideas?
L.K. answers from Atlanta on July 21, 2008
S.G. answers from Savannah on July 22, 2008
You need to make sure you set the boundries for your 3yr old as to what is ok behaviour and what isn't. You need to set a punishment for the unacceptable behaviour as well-time out for 3 mins for taking toys/hitting/bitting away/to or from from sister, doesn't get to play with the toy if she won't share, can't play with her sister's toys if she won't share, etc. Make a few of her toys non share toys. This can be her favorite book, stuffed animal, the toy grandma bought her last year. These are off limits for any one to play with but her. Do the same for a few of her sisters toys but the rest are up for grabs to either one of them (as long as they are safe for the littlest one to play with). You can also spend say one Saturday a month you give most of the day to your oldest child by taking her to the park, bowling, zoo, children's musuem, etc that way she has mommies full and special attention for almost an entire day. Your soon to be hubby can do this as well with her. And remember your 3yr old is in that everything is mine stage and she needs to learn that isn't the case. Just be consistant with how you deal with the issue and she will out grow the phase as well with time.
B.L. answers from Atlanta on July 21, 2008
I'm not sure how to deal with the jealousy issues, but in the sharing department this is what I have read: not to make them (toddler) share if they dont want to (their own toys). This was the complete opposite of what I thought the 'professionals' would say. Supposively it makes them resentful. The way I deal with my toddler not sharing is I take the toy completely away so neither of them can have it, or fight over it. It's been working. She used to hit too and stays with a 9 mo old cousin during the days. Sometimes she helps out with the cousin if we ask and encourage it, hugs her. Other times she snatches stuff and gets stingy, or tries to throw it at her.
D.S. answers from Augusta on July 21, 2008
I went through the same thing with my son, now 5 and my daughter now 2.
What I read and worked for me was to pay more attention to my oldest than my youngest, since she is too little to care. I would play with him, praise him and always talk to him about what a cute baby he was... Eventually he calmed down, though I think sibling rivalry does not really go away, I have two sisters and we are very competitive of my parents' affection. Hope this helps..
C.B. answers from Charleston on July 22, 2008
Go to Barnes and Noble right away and buy 1,2,3 Magic discipline from 2-12...if you follow the main principles and adapt the rest it will work wonders.
K.W. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
Boy did this bring back memories. Many years ago (kids are now 40 and 37) I had some of the same problems. A wise woman told me to make my oldest responsible for some part of my day with the baby. I rearranged the baby clothes so he could pick out what the baby would wear every day and showed him how to pack a diaper bag. I even let him pick the nickname we would use for the baby from 2 choices. What a difference! Now he had a job, he was important. Of course me, my husband and family gave him high praise for being so responsible.
Hope this will help.
V.E. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
This behaviour is totally unacceptable. NEVER give her anything she is trying to get when acting this way. It's "Time Out" in a very barren room. Only give her attention and affection when she is being nice and good. You are trying too hard to even things up. At different ages children require different things. You need to have some rewards for good behaviour. Maybe Dad reads an extra bedtime story if she's been good that evening. Put a chart on the Refrigerator and give her a star for every hour she's good after arriving home. She can earn things with her stars. Take away a star if she's bad. At the end of the day have a reward (Not food). Set a number of stars that when she gets these you will do something special on Sat or Sunday with her. You are very busy with work, school and a fiance so you will have to figure out how to fit in some rewards for her.
M.D. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
OH My Gosh!!! I was seriously thinking about posting close to the same concern for my 1 yr. old daughter and 4 yr. old son. He is SO JEALOUS and I'm glad it's not just our family. Our whole day is spent scolding him for things that we deem inappropriate. Our trouble is that he acts like a baby. He goes around goo-goo gah-gah, screams, yells at our daughter, pushes her out of the way,etc. He definitely feels like he's not getting the attention ever so he acts out in these ways. I'm afraid our daughter is taking after his bad habits. WE are trying different things, paying more attention to him, sticker charts, etc. but so far the struggle is still there. They start going to daycare fulltime next week and I honetly think the break from each other all day (they are in seperate rooms) that they may miss each other and try to play together at night. Wouldn't that be nice? Sorry I couldn't suggest more ideas but there are definitely some great ideas in these postings!
O.A. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
You must teach the 3 year old that she is the big sister. May her apart of taking care of the 14month old. Give her like chores and say this is my big girl and compliment her in all she accomplishes. She feels rivary with her sister but you can turn it into joy having a baby sister by what you do and say. Remember she feels threaten and unlove. You will have to bridge the gap between the two with teaching your older one to love. Don't feel threaten by saying NO to the 3 year old and slapping her on her hand.
M.J. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
I have a 4 and 2 year old. When my youngest was born my son was extremely jealous and his behavior got out of control. Even now, he will measure the amounts of food and drinks I give him compared to his sister, and if they are not even he will have a fit. I had to constantly tell my son that he is the big brother and he must take care of his little sister and that he has to be a big boy now. I also allowed him to help her wash her hands, and help her get her shoes on to show him that he is an important part of her life. This has helped him transition out of being jealous to becoming more of the "big brother".
C.H. answers from Atlanta on July 22, 2008
Love and Logic and 1,2,3, Magic are good books about discipline, but you need to understand what your oldest is feeling. You need Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber & Mazlich. I was so surprised when I took a parenting class based on it to find out that part of the trauma of being the oldest is that your daughter thought she had an exclusive relationship with you before her sister came along. It feels to them like it would feel to you if your husband brought home another wife. The oldest needs to have those feelings understood and needs a lot of empathy. The book explains everything so well, not only about what your oldest is feeling, but how to help her, with cute cute cartoons that are fun to read.