8 answers

Sibling Rivalry - Webster,TX

My smart, beautiful, sweet little girl is making me crazy! She will be 3 next month, and we had a new baby about 5 months ago. At first it was all new and exciting, but now she is in this phase where she only wants to be with me, not her father, and she throws giant tantrums if I am holding/feeding/caring for the baby instead of her. I am SO sick of all her tantrums (for everything) and I don't know what to do about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Ignore her when she has these tantrums. As long as she is not getting the benefit of the tantrum, she will stop. Even if you have to go into the other room to get some peace.

One cannot reason with a 3yo. But, you can discuss what is appropriate behavior. Tell her that she cannot have mommy all the time and that she needs to be the big girl and let mommy take care of baby.

More Answers

i know it is hard for her..i went thru it with my son...he was two when my daughter was born. when my son had a hard time with me feeding his sister(i breast fed her) he would try to push her out of my lap. i ended up having to sit in the living room with him and put in a movie or watch cartoons with him while i fed her. when it was time to feed her i picked her up and said "lets go watch a movie or some cartoons on the couch while i feed your sister" he liked the idea of sitting with mommy and watching something on t.v on the couch. it took a little bit but after a little while he started saying cartoon time or movie time when she would fuss for food. it is a great deal for her to deal with and tantrums are her way of dealing. ever thought of sitting with her and letting the baby sit in her lap? maybe even playing games with both of them? she might be feeling left out of alot even though she isnt. the tantrums or problems usually happen when the baby is about 5-7 months old and the other is 2-5 and the baby is starting to have alot of firsts that the other child is actually jealous over. they feel you are taking the attention away from them even if you know you are not. if the movie thing doesnt work then try something along those lines. if you make feeding time of the baby fun they will be more likely wanting to do other things...its a step in the right direction.

All 3 year olds throw MANY tantrums, but having to share your attention probably exacerbates hers. Try giving her something special of her own to take care of while you tend to the baby. She can sit beside you and rock and feed her doll when you have the baby. Or let her grow a plant. Let her water it and take care of it. Maybe even a goldfish.

Do you have any time set aside to do things with your older daughter? That is what she is craving. It isn't because she hates the baby, but because she misses what she used to have.. your attention.
It may seem at first like you are giving in to her... but it's not (unless you do it immediately following and to stop an active tantrum). Just tell her when you get up in the morning... today/this afternoon/at lunch (whenever it will be... be general if you need to) you and I are going to_____. Let it be clear that you are making a specific time that you and she will interact.. whether it is playdoh, or going for a walk, or reading a book, or building with Legos, or whatever. And never never never say you 'can't' do something "because of" the baby... find another way to word it. She wants to know that she is still special and that you love her the way you always have. Telling her that isn't going to be enough.... she needs action to have meaning. You could even let Dad do the baby's bath while you and your older girl have "Mommy and Me story time" or something like that.

Ignore her when she has these tantrums. As long as she is not getting the benefit of the tantrum, she will stop. Even if you have to go into the other room to get some peace.

One cannot reason with a 3yo. But, you can discuss what is appropriate behavior. Tell her that she cannot have mommy all the time and that she needs to be the big girl and let mommy take care of baby.

My 4 year old was acting the same way but I've learned to not give into her tantrums, hard to do at times but the more you give in the more she will keep doing the things she does. I say it is Negative attention that she is doing and if you keep getting frusturated and she sees that she will continue to keep doing it because it is attention that you are giving to her even though it is negative but for a child it is something. Have her help out or tell her your brother/sister needs me right now and give her a task to do, put away baby clothes, straighten the baby toys, something to occupy herself while you are tending to the baby and she doesn't feel left out. Kids know how to push our buttons and will do it as long as we show some type of reaction. I have 3 kids, 11mo. old, 4 yr. old and 9 yr. old. I am pulled in different directions but I make sure to explain to them what is needed from them while I am tending to the baby. Kids want & need to hear your positive words even if they are acting out. We tend to scold a child very easily when being bad but we tend (my opinion) to not praise a child when they are doing well & behaving like they should. Hope this helps and God Bless your family.

Gosh, I know exactly what you're going through! I have two boys who are 5 1/2 years apart, and I remember nursing my infant, just home from the hospital, and hearing my oldest screaming, crying and yelling at the nanny and his daddy in the front yard. When he came inside, I asked him why he was so mad. "I know you're mad because Henry's here..." And he said "I'm not mad at Henry. I'm mad at YOU. You don't play outside with me anymore..." So I told him it would only be a few days and I'd be outside with him again. Then, I made sure I had alone time with him daily. My suggestion would be to make sure you spend time with her alone, just the two of you. And then make a big deal of her being the big sister. Let her "help" you feed the baby, but don't give in to the tantrums. She's trying to train YOU and it will work if you give in. You might gently send her to her room for the tantrum or simply walk away yourself (long as she won't hurt herself). Stay strong! You can do it!

Oh, I am so sorry. I know exactly what you are going through. One of my son's would do exactly the same thing. It would be so bad that my older kids started a mean little game just because it was so funny. Humor was one way I tried to deal with it. One of them would use one finger and touch me on my shoulder and the baby would scream and scream. I mean that one example is a bit backwards from yours but it just reminded me of it.
All i can suggest to you is to maybe give her some responsibility for the baby. Tell her that your responsibility is to take care of her and someone needs to care for the baby and that leaves her. Which means, either holding her, laying on the floor playing toys with her, "reading" her a story, giving her a puppet show, feeding her a bottle, etc. Put some of the responsibility on her and see if that helps. Have her check to see if the baby needs to be changed yada yada. And when the baby sleeps, then you can promise her a reward for doing a great job taking care of the baby like baking cookies (nothing complicated so you don't get stressed just get those cut and bake ones), playing playdough, reading, tickling, watching a movie, whatever. And if she doesn't do a good job with the baby then well, she doesn't get to do something "extra special with mommy" she has to play by herself when the baby sleeps, or watch a movie by herself, or take a nap or whatever. Nothing hateful or punishment, but nothing special either.
Hope it helps.
Good luck.

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