How to Avoid Jealousy When a Sibling Arrives
After a new sibling arrives in the family, jealousy can be a natural reaction to the threat of losing their parents’ love. However, while competing for the love of their parents, little ones can learn a lot. Here’s how you can guide them on this journey so they can avoid jealousy when a sibling arrives.
What can you do while waiting for another child?
The arrival of a new child generates many changes in the family. Your older children may have false expectations when waiting for the baby. Therefore, preparing them as soon as possible can help them avoid jealousy when their sibling arrives.
The first thing will be to let them know you’re pregnant before they hear the news from other people. In addition, you need to explain to them in advance that babies need a lot of care because they cannot fend for themselves. To help with this, you can show them pictures or videos of when they were babies so that they can understand it more easily.
Also, try to include them as you make arrangements for the arrival of the baby. Some ideas include showing them the ultrasounds or allowing them to put their hands on your belly to talk to the baby.
Symptoms of jealousy before the arrival of a sibling
While not all children demonstrate jealousy in the same way, some symptoms include:
- Anger, anguish, insecurity, sadness. Such feelings can present as physical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia or dizziness.
- Complete rejection of the sibling.
- They could experience a regression stage and try to imitate the younger sibling. In these cases, they return to behaviors they already abandoned, such as thumb sucking.
- They try to attract attention at all costs, often despising their sibling.
- They can demonstrate aggressive behavior, to the point of verbal or even physical confrontation.
How to avoid jealousy when a sibling arrives
Of course, there is no magic formula to avoid jealousy when a a sibling arrives. However, with the right tools, you can help your children to channel this emotion properly. Here are some practical tips:
Set aside time
Strive to be with your other children one-on-one for some quality time. This factor is very important so that they don’t feel displaced by the arrival of the new baby.
Let them help you
Involve them in the care of their new sibling. Depending on their age, you can assign tasks to your older children. This way, you’ll make them feel like an important part of the family. Of course, if they don’t want to do it, it’s advisable that you don’t force them.
Teach them to understand
Teach your children the importance of understanding. It’s necessary that they learn to understand the feelings of others. At this point, show them the advantages of being the oldest or the youngest.
“Your older children may create false expectations when waiting for the baby. Preparing them as soon as possible can help them avoid jealousy when a sibling arrives.”
Treat them equally
Try to give balanced treatment to each child. Although love should be shared equally, in many cases you’ll have to give special treatment. In such circumstances, the treatment will depend on the age and personality of each child.
Ask for help from other adults
Remind your family and friends that they shouldn’t leave the oldest child aside. Otherwise, your effort and dedication could be countered or even cancelled out by another person close to the child.
Teach them to share
Help them to develop their individuality and to respect each other. As they grow up, children should know how to share space with their siblings.
5 Things you shouldn’t do when handling the situation
If you want to avoid jealousy when a new sibling arrives while also promoting family relationships, keep these tips in mind:
Don’t change the routine
Don’t alter the routine your children had before the birth of your new baby. Too many changes at the same time can be difficult to assimilate. Make sure that, as much as possible, the new birth doesn’t coincide with a move or a change of school.
Don’t think they don’t want a sibling
Avoid thinking that jealousy is a sign that your children don’t want a younger sibling. In the great majority of cases, the little ones come to love each other in an unbreakable way with time and maturation.
Avoid making comparisons
Don’t compare your children. Some of your comments may seem like a simple observation, but the way you say them can have a strong impact on your children.
Be careful with your comments
Avoid phrases that reproach or even misinterpret their actions. For example, telling your other children to “Stay away from the baby” or “Do not touch him” could cause the older sibling to reject the younger one.
Correct if necessary
Correct bad behavior and don’t allow them to do it. Some children may seek attention by belittling, ridiculing and threatening the infant. While you shouldn’t reproach their feelings, don’t applaud them when they misbehave.
In short, avoiding jealousy when a new sibling arrives is practically impossible. However, with patience and affection, you can help your children manage those feelings. In this way, your children will learn to live together, accept their responsibilities and respect one another.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1989). Atachment beyond infancy. American Psychology, 44, 709-716.
- Arranz Freijo, E. (2000). Interacción entre hermanos y desarrollo psicológico: una propuesta educativa. https://minerva.usc.es/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10347/5181/pg_313-334_inneduc10.pdf?sequence=1
- Howe, N. y Recchia, H. (2014). Las relaciones entre hermanos y su impacto en el desarrollo de los niños. Concordia University, Canadá. Recuperado de: http://www.enciclopedia-infantes.com/sites/default/files/textes-experts/es/2592/las-relaciones-entre-hermanos-y-su-impacto-en-el-desarrollo-de-los-ninos.pdf
- Velasco, T. (2011). Conociendo un poco más el apego. Pedagogía Magna.