Older Sibling Age 6- New Baby - Jealousy?

Updated on September 03, 2007
D.B. asks from Corinth, NY
9 answers

I just wanted to ask if anyone out there has a slightly older sibling when the new child comes along. My daughter is very happy to have her brother and has always been excited and willing to help but I worry that she will feel left out or replaced. I really encouage her and make her feel like she is the big sister and such a wonderful helper but my old fears of my own childhool linger. I was the older sibling when my sister came along and my mother really did replace me. I was her mistake at age 16 and my sister was wanted with her new husband. There are moments that I can not give my daughter the attention she needs just because I have just 2 hands....Anyone have feedback out here?

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answers from Buffalo on

hi D., congrats on the little man. I only have one chile but a friend of mine when she had her second began setting out one activity for her and her oldest daughter to do when daddy can watch the ababy for a short time... if it's a lunch out, a trip to a mall, a afternoon movie, just one thing for the two of them that is special time for her and mom. Just a thought. good luck and take care.

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answers from Glens Falls on

I have 2 sons, one is almost 3 and the other is almost 1. There are sometimes that I can't give to them both. I really try not to say to my 2 yrold that I can't do something "because of" his brother. I usually say, just a second and try to sit down so that I can be eye level while I am dealing with the baby. This way my older guy feels like I am responding to him too even if I can't give him what he needs at the moment.



answers from Syracuse on

My kids are 8, 6 (will be 7 next month), 20 months, and 10 months. My older two are such big helpers. Sometimes they do seem to feel left out, but I let them help when they can. I also let them know that I can no longer get up and immediately do something for them right when they ask. Both of them have loved to help with the babies ever since they were born. So bottom line you just have to keep the communication open. Tell your daughter you will play a game or read a book or whatever with her right after you get the baby to sleep. Remember that making both kids feel needed is more important then that sink full of dishes.



answers from New London on

Dear D.,

My name is A., I am a middle child and mother of six, yours, mine and ours... Three girls and three boys. My baby is now 17. Our oldest daughter has two children, girl 7 and boy 3. My sister has two, the oldest a girl 25 and a boy 24. My brother has three boys 11,9 & 8. My girlfriend has three, the oldest is a boy 11 from a previous relationship and then two girls 4&2, from this marriage.

I gave you all that information to say that I rarely see Any jelousy that is ongoing. Now and then a situation might come up but it passes. I believe, as you said, you felt jealous because even as a child you were aware of the difference between the two of you.
I learned when mine were little that the older they get the less one on one attention they need. They learn to enjoy themselves and their own intrest. Just make sure you do give her some undivided attention. Make sure you take time to realy listen to her too. (We can get distracted and not realy be listening, they know it too)
Don't stress over something that is not there. Your daughter is old enough that you can let her know that a baby needs more attention. You might want to make special time for you and her to do things alone. Movie, out to lunch, a trip to the library to pick out a book that you will read together. It will make you both feel better. The most imptortant thing is that you don't put yourself on a guilt trip. She will pick up on it and play you when it's convienent for her. (We're all human, even 6 year olds)Children are very smart.

I hope something here has helped.




answers from Hartford on

As a librarian, I can personally vouch for the way that children's books can help kids with all kinds of issues, and can be a great way for parents and kids to talk about situations by talking about characters in the book. These are some books you might consider reading to/with your daughter:
Aren't You Lucky by Anholt
Cry Baby by Brown
I'm a Big Sister by Cole
Little Monster Did It! by Cooper
The Lapsnatcher by Coville
Darcy and Gran don't Like Babies by Cutler
Julius, the Baby of the World by Henkes
Show and Tell by Munsch
That Bothered Kate by Noll
The Second Princess by Oram
My brother is from Outer Space by Ostrow
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Polacco
Big Panda, Little Panda by Stimson
How to be an Older Brother or Sister by Venezia
Little Monster by Wade
Big Sister and Little Sister by Zolotow



answers from Utica on

I have 2 quite young children (3 and 1). Prior to the youngest coming along, I and Daddy talked to my older girl to prepare her. Since I have been home with both kids over the summer, I take advantage of the younger child's naps to have some Mommy-daughter time with the older child. I also try to encourage the two of them to play together. The older one is rough sometimes, and I have to remind her that sissy can't do all the things she does. She's proud that she can do things the baby can't. Sometimes she still gets jealous, though. There's really no way to avoid it entirely. Daddy helps a lot playing with one while I play with the other. I let the older child pick out the younger child's outfits, and she likes to "help" with feeding and changing most of the time (i.e. she plays with the baby while I change her, etc.) Best of luck.



answers from Hartford on

My oldest is 10, and the baby is 8 months. I was worried like you are, and at times she is jealous, but like another mom said, she is old enough to understand. My daughter has turned out to be the biggest help with making bottles, grabbing me a diaper, and even holding her for a minute while I am busy. I agree with the other moms, and you should try to set a time up to spend with your older one, it works wonders! My daughter and I had a mommy and me day last Friday, and she acted really pleasant the rest of the evening. I always emphasize with my oldest that she is still my "sunshine bear" and that the baby is my "moon and stars" so I have it all. :-)



answers from Buffalo on

Pick the same day every week if possible and look into getting a babysitter for your new baby so you and your husband can spend time alone with your daughter. If you choose the same day every week, it gives her something to look forward to. Go places that she likes, whether it be to the mall, movies, zoo, or even taking only her to go and get ice cream. While out doing the things that she likes, you can explain to her that you are not trying to ignore her or replace her... tell her that she was once that small and she couldn't do things for herself so she need people to do everything for her... just like this baby needs. Tell her how great it would be if she helped take care of the baby. Teach her to change diapers, get the bottle ready, feed the baby, hold the baby, etc...(all supervised of course).


answers from Hartford on

it sounds like you are doing so much to include your daughter, that any jealousy she might feel would be totally normal sibling stuff and not your fault at all. in a lot of ways, older siblings are actually able to handle a new sibling much better than younger siblings. a 2-year-old still needs mom very much, and if a new baby arrives at that point it can be much harder than it is for your 6-year-old, who has some natural independence from you through school, friends, etc. don't worry about it. the new baby will be very time intensive for a few months, and then gradually you will all settle into a good routine. your daughter will understand- just keep doing what you're doing! you are teaching her important lessons about time management, compromise, and the complexity of human relationships (we all have multiple people in our lives whom we care for, and have to negotiate between or among them to show the ways we care- we all do this automatically almost with family members and close friends.)

congrats on the new little meatball!


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